So near, yet so far: tobacco dependence treatment for pregnant women

Nicotine Tob Res. 2004 Apr;6 Suppl 2:S259-67. doi: 10.1080/14622200410001669178.


Almost one-half million babies in the United States are born yearly to women who report smoking while pregnant. Almost all of these pregnant women have access to prenatal care, through federally financed health clinics, state and county health programs, or private providers. However, many pregnant smokers are unlikely to receive any type of counseling or assistance to help them stop smoking--despite the availability of evidence-based treatment and the considerable return on investment. This article recommends four next steps to ensure that tobacco dependence treatment is available for all pregnant women. These steps are (a). expanding Medicaid coverage for, and promotion of, effective counseling services for pregnant smokers, (b). improving health care systems by building the capacity of prenatal providers and health care systems to deliver effective treatments, (c). encouraging purchasers of private and public health benefit packages to demand coverage for, and promotion of, effective counseling services for pregnant smokers, and (d). redirecting state resources to ensure a statewide system of care for pregnant smokers. Implementation of these steps requires leadership, diligence, and action by the public health community--as well as ongoing monitoring to assess progress in improving coverage, capacity, and coordination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage*
  • Leadership
  • Medicaid / economics
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Smoking Cessation / economics*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / economics
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / therapy*
  • United States