By Staff Writer
Despite the fact that smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of birth defects and other complications, many expectant mothers still find it difficult to kick their habits. In addition to substance abuse treatment, public health efforts may help these women end their tobacco addictions, according to a new study from University of Colorado researchers.
Their investigation found that maternal smoking significantly decreased in cities that had implemented smoking bans. This consequently led to a reduction in the number of preterm births.
For the study, researchers collected birth data from two Colorado cities – one that had initiated a ban on smoking in public places and one that had not. They found that pregnant women were 37 percent less likely to smoke in communities that had banned smoking, and preterm birth dropped by 23 percent.
The University of Colorado professor who led the investigation said that the findings not only prove that maternal smoking is a major risk factor for pregnancy complications, they also indicate that smoking bans can be an effective means of curbing this problem.