|Curbing pregnant smokers with price hikes|
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)-
Around 23% of women enter pregnancy as smokers, and more than half continue to smoke during pregnancy despite the health risks to the baby, excess healthcare costs at delivery and in the future. Now, a new study shows tobacco control policies can curb this habit in pregnant smokers in addition to preventing a return to smoking within four months, on average, after delivery.
“This is one of the first studies of pregnant women’s smoking in the new era of more restrictive state tobacco control policies,” E. Kathleen Adams, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, Emory University was quoted as saying. “We found that a $1.00 increase in cigarette taxes increases the quit rate among pregnant women from 44.1% to 48.9%, a sizeable effect. Moreover, tax policies appear to be effective in keeping these women from relapsing in the first few months postpartum, and the implementation of a full workplace smoke-free policy also increases quits.”
The researchers from Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined cigarette smoking among 225,445 women with live births from 2000-2005 in 29 states plus New York City. They merged data on smoking status (pre-pregnancy smoking; quitting during pregnancy; and remaining quit 4 months after delivery) with cigarette price data, which includes federal, state, and local cigarette excise taxes, data on state tobacco control spending for the period, and the existence of full or partial bans of worksite or restaurant smoking.
The researchers determined that a $1.00 increase in taxes and prices increases the probability of quitting by the last three months of pregnancy by 4.8 percentage points. The probability of continuing to abstain from smoking four months after delivery is increased by 4.2 percentage points or from 21.3% to 25.5%, with a $1.00 increase in real taxes. A full ban on smoking at private worksites increased the probability of quitting smoking during pregnancy by 4-5 percentage points.
Ultimately, the findings were not conclusive about tobacco policies halting pregnant smokers . "Insignificant results on tobacco control spending may indicate that such spending needs to reach a minimum threshold recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Dr. Adams was quoted as saying. "If additional tobacco tax revenues were used by states to support implementation of smoke-free and other effective policies, then tax policy could have additional effects on prevalence of smoking and in turn, help improve birth outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs at delivery.