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Study: 1 in 5 Pregnant White Women Smoke Cigarettes


In the past 30 days of your pregnancy you might have given in to some strange food cravings—pickles with peanut butter or breakfast for dinner—but a new study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that in the past 30 days, one in five white women have indulged in their nicotine craving. Of these women, ages 15 to 44 years old, 21.8 percent smoked cigarettes, ScienceDaily reports.

Plus: Study: Smoking During Pregnancy Linked With Specific Birth Defects

The study looked at statistics from 67,500 black, white and Hispanic pregnant women across the country, and while white women were more likely to smoke (21.8%, versus 14.2% and 6.2% of black and Hispanic women, respectively), black women were more likely to use drugs (7.7% compared to 4.4% for white and 3.1% for Hispanic). Black and white women were about equal when it came to alcohol use (12.8% vs. 12.2%) and Hispanic women were the overall the least likely drink, smoke or use drugs while pregnant. 

Plus: Pregnant Woman Kicked Out of Bar

This high number of pregnant smokers is shocking, as SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde reminds, “when pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies.”  Understanding that women of various racial and ethnic backgrounds may have different views of nicotine, alcohol and drug use during pregnancy may help medical professionals improve how they message diverse groups of women about avoiding these substances during pregnancy.

Plus: Study: No Alcohol Safe During Pregnancy

Were these numbers higher than you expected? Did you have trouble cutting out drinking or smoking when you were pregnant?