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Am J Epidemiol. 1988 Feb;127(2):274-82.

The effects of maternal smoking on fetal and infant mortality.

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National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782.


Although maternal cigarette smoking has been shown to reduce the birth weight of an infant, previous findings on the relation between smoking and fetal and infant mortality have been inconsistent. This study used the largest data base ever available (360,000 birth, 2,500 fetal death, and 3,800 infant death certificates for Missouri residents during 1979-1983) to assess the impact of smoking on fetal and infant mortality. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate the joint effects of maternal smoking, age, parity, education, marital status, and race on total mortality (infant plus fetal deaths). Compared with nonsmoking women having their first birth, women who smoked less than one pack of cigarettes per day had a 25% greater risk of mortality, and those who smoked one or more packs per day had a 56% greater risk. Among women having their second or higher birth, smokers experienced 30% greater mortality than nonsmokers, but there was no difference by amount smoked. The prevalence of smoking in this population was 30%. It was estimated that if all pregnant women stopped smoking, the number of fetal and infant deaths would be reduced by approximately 10%. The higher rate of mortality among blacks compared with whites could not be attributed to differences in smoking or the other four maternal characteristics studied. In fact, the black-white difference was greater among low-risk women (e.g., married multiparas aged 20 and over with high education) than among high-risk women (e.g., unmarried teenagers with low education).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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