Smoking Ban Reduced Maternal Smoking and Preterm Birth Risk

A citywide ban on public smoking in Colorado led to significant decreases in maternal smoking and preterm births, providing the first evidence in the U.S. that such interventions can impact maternal and fetal health, according to an article in Journal of Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Women’s Health website.

Prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke–whether the mother is a smoker or exposure is from environmental sources– is associated with premature births and low birth weight. The results of a “natural experiment” that compared outcomes in two cities, one with a smoking ban and one without a ban, showed reductions in both maternal smoking and premature births in the city with a smoking ban.

In the article “A Citywide Smoking Ban Reduced Maternal Smoking and Risk for Preterm, Not Low Birth Weight, Births: A Colorado Natural Experiment,” Robert Lee Page II, PharmD, MSPH, Julia Slejko, BA, and Anne Libby, PhD, University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, concluded that a population-level intervention using a smoking ban improved maternal and fetal outcomes.

“Exposure to tobacco smoke is associated with not only death from lung cancer and heart disease but also risks to developing fetuses,” says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women’s Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women’s Health. “The promising results of this study suggest that pregnant women and their fetuses represent an important population for further study of health and cost effects of smoke-free ordinances.”

Science news reference: 

A Citywide Smoking Ban Reduced Maternal Smoking and Risk for Preterm, Not Low Birth Weight, Births: A Colorado Natural Experiment. Robert Lee Page II, Julia F. Slejko, and Anne M. Libby. Journal of Women's Health. Online Ahead of Print: March 8, 2012. doi:10.1089/jwh.2011.3305.

Science news source: 

University of Texas at Houston