Introduction: Numerous studies document the causal relationship between prenatal smoking and adverse maternal and child health (MCH) outcomes. Studies also reveal the impact that tobacco control policies have on prenatal smoking. The purpose of this study is to estimate the effect of tobacco control policies on prenatal smoking prevalence and adverse MCH outcomes.
Methods: The US SimSmoke simulation model was extended to consider adverse MCH outcomes. The model estimates prenatal smoking prevalence and, applying standard attribution methods, uses estimates of MCH prevalence and relative smoking risks to estimate smoking-attributable MCH outcomes over time. The model then estimates the effect of tobacco control policies on adverse birth outcomes averted.
Results: Different tobacco control policies have varying impacts on the number of smoking-attributable adverse MCH birth outcomes. Higher cigarette taxes and comprehensive marketing bans individually have the biggest impact with a 5% to 10% reduction across all outcomes for the period from 2015 to 2065. The policies with the lowest impact (2%-3% decrease) during this period are cessation treatment, health warnings, and complete smoke-free laws. Combinations of all policies with each tax level lead to 23% to 28% decreases across all outcomes.
Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate the substantial impact of strong tobacco control policies for preventing adverse MCH outcomes, including long-term health implications for children exposed to low birth weight and preterm birth. These benefits are often overlooked in discussions of tobacco control.
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