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Aust N Z J Public Health. 1998 Feb;22(1):60-6.

Socioeconomic status and maternal cigarette smoking before, during and after a pregnancy.

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University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane.


Research suggests that cigarette use declines when women find out they are pregnant, increasing again after the birth. Pregnancy may provide many women with a substantial impetus to stopping smoking. Also, rates of smoking cessation and reduction may be class-related, with the highest socioeconomic-status groups manifesting higher rates of reduction. Using data from the Mater Hospital--University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy, we report family income related to rates of smoking before, during and after a pregnancy. Before becoming pregnant, 45.9 per cent of women in the sample were smokers. This declined to 34.7 per cent of women at their first clinic visit. Rates of heavy smoking (20 or more cigarettes per day) had returned to earlier levels by the six-month (after birth) follow-up. Women in the lowest family-income group had the highest rates of cigarette use before, during and after their pregnancy. Of the lowest family-income group, 8.4 per cent were heavy smokers before, during and after their pregnancy, compared with 2.8 per cent of women in the highest family-income group. Smoking cessation rates were highest in the highest family-income group (those who smoked least), but relapse rates after the birth were similar for all income groups. Arresting rates of smoking relapse by pregnant women should be seen as a major public health priority.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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