Prevalence of cigarette smoking in pregnant women participating in the special supplemental nutrition programme for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2002 Jul;16(3):246-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3016.2002.00421.x.


Several adverse birth outcomes are associated with cigarette smoking. It is important to determine the prevalence of cigarette smoking among pregnant low-income women and to evaluate their smoking cessation patterns in order to target appropriate interventions. Ethnically diverse pregnant women aged 15-45 years were recruited from Minneapolis or Saint Paul Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics before their third trimester. Serum cotinine levels were assayed for 98 women and compared with self-report. The women were unaware that their smoking status would be validated. Twenty-one (21%) women had a positive serum cotinine value (> or =3 ng/mL); 16 (76%) admitted smoking within the previous 24 h before interview and five denied smoking. Of the five, four had cotinine levels that could suggest passive smoke exposure. Thirty-seven women (38%) admitted cigarette smoking during the pregnancy but before knowing that they were pregnant; 18 (49%) of these denied current smoking at the interview and also presented with negative cotinine levels. These data suggest that some participants in WIC make a concerted effort to quit smoking when they find out they are pregnant, and are generally truthful when reporting their smoking habits during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cotinine / blood
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Maternal-Child Health Centers
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Poverty*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / blood
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Urban Population


  • Cotinine