Tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy: an investigative survey of women in 9 developing nations

Am J Public Health. 2008 Oct;98(10):1833-40. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.117887. Epub 2008 Feb 28.


Objectives: We examined pregnant women's use of cigarettes and other tobacco products and the exposure of pregnant women and their young children to secondhand smoke (SHS) in 9 nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Methods: Face-to-face surveys were administered to 7961 pregnant women (more than 700 per site) between October 2004 and September 2005.

Results: At all Latin American sites, pregnant women commonly reported that they had ever tried cigarette smoking (range: 78.3% [Uruguay] to 35.0% [Guatemala]). The highest levels of current smoking were found in Uruguay (18.3%), Argentina (10.3%), and Brazil (6.1%). Experimentation with smokeless tobacco occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and India; one third of all respondents in Orissa, India, were current smokeless tobacco users. SHS exposure was common: between 91.6% (Pakistan) and 17.1% (Democratic Republic of the Congo) of pregnant women reported that smoking was permitted in their home.

Conclusions: Pregnant women's tobacco use and SHS exposure are current or emerging problems in several low- and middle-income nations, jeopardizing ongoing efforts to improve maternal and child health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo / epidemiology
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ecuador / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Guatemala / epidemiology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Uruguay / epidemiology
  • Zambia / epidemiology


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution