Secondhand Smoke and Pregnancy Complications — CDC

Women of childbearing age who are exposed to secondhand smoke face adverse health risks such as pregnancy complications and infant death, according to a

Under the care of second-hand smoke

 (Photo credit: JorizDG)

report released this week by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In at least one country, nearly 3 out of 4 women of childbearing age are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, based on the CDC's analysis.

The two-year study, published by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, include females aged 15 to 49 years in 14 countries.  Researchers from the CDC analyzed data taken from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey completed in 2010.

Other adverse health problems found for women exposed to secondhand smoke during their reproductive years included fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery and stillbirths.  The study also included women who smoked cigarettes and similar health problems were associated with that group as well.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, do not produce secondhand smoke.

An e-cigarette is a two-part device that operates on batteries.  A liquid form of nicotine is heated to create a steam, which a user inhales.

In countries where smokeless tobacco was more popular, women faced less exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace. Women in Bangladesh, for example, were the most likely to use smokeless tobacco and the least likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke at work.

The survey did not include women in the United States, Canada or western Europe.  In addition to Bangladesh, countries in the study included, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Other findings in the CDC study include:

  • Secondhand smoke exposure was high in all 14 countries studied.  In Mexico, the country with the lowest rates of second hand smoke exposure, 17.8 percent of women of childbearing age were exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes.  In Vietnam, 72.3 percent of the women were.
  • The number of women exposed to secondhand smoke at work ranged from  5.4 percent in Bangladesh to 74.7 percent in Russia.
  • Women in Egypt had the lowest smoking rates — 0.4 percent — and women in Russia had the highest — 30.8 percent.
  • The use of smokeless tobacco remains low compared to the rate of traditional smoking. In most countries included in the study, fewer than 1 percent of women of reproductive age used smokeless tobacco.  But the rate of smokeless tobacco use was 20.1 percent in Bangladesh and 14.9 percent in India.
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