Anemia in pregnant women who use smokeless tobacco

Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 May;10(5):917-20. doi: 10.1080/14622200802027206.


A significantly higher mean hemoglobin level in women smokers in comparison to nonsmokers with a generalized rightward shift of the hemoglobin distribution curve has been reported at the population level. Studies on pregnant women, however, have often associated smoking with decreased hemoglobin levels, although not consistently. We examined whether smokeless tobacco use during pregnancy influenced hemoglobin levels in a population-based cohort of 918 pregnant women in Mumbai, India. Mean hemoglobin levels (Hb) were significantly lower in users (10.00 g/dl) compared with nonusers (10.46 g/dl), p<.000. Anemia (Hb<10 g/dl) was significantly associated with smokeless tobacco in the univariate analysis (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.5). There was no change after adjusting odds ratios for potential confounders in multivariate analysis (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.5). The odds ratios for anemia were adjusted for age of mother, education, socioeconomic status, type of residence, lower body mass index, parity, vegetarian or nonvegetarian food habit, and hemodilution during pregnancy. The results suggest that smokeless tobacco use during pregnancy is associated with lower hemoglobin levels, as has often been observed with cigarette smoking. Smokeless tobacco use is widely prevalent among women in Southeast Asia and is gaining popularity across the world as a safe alternative to smoking. Further exploration and clarification of this association is therefore of considerable importance to public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / adverse effects*


  • Hemoglobins