Monday, June 11, 2012
By Jennifer Johnson, Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Higher taxes and smoke-free policies are reducing smoking among mothers-to-be, a new study by Emory University finds. The results will be published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The researchers evaluated smoking bans and taxes on cigarettes, along with the level of tobacco control spending, and found that state tobacco control policies can be effective in curbing smoking during pregnancy, and in preventing a return to smoking within four months on average, after delivery.
"We know from prior research that nearly one-fourth of all women in the United States enter pregnancy as smokers and more than half continue to smoke while they are pregnant which results in excessive healthcare costs at birth and beyond," says lead investigator Kathleen Adams, associate professor in the department of health policy and management at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. "This is one of the first studies of pregnant women's smoking in the new era of more restrictive state tobacco control policies, and we found a sizable increase in the quit rate. In addition, 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."
Sara Markowitz, associate professor of economics at Emory University co-authored the study.
Investigators determined that a $1 increase in taxes and prices increases the probability of quitting by the last three months of pregnancy by 4.8 percentage points – from 44.1 to 48.9 percent. The probability of having sustained nonsmoking four months after delivery is increased by 4.2 percentage points or from 21.3 to 25.5 percent, with a $1 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.
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