Tobacco smoking and smoke exposure during pregnancy are associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including preterm birth. Also, children born preterm have a higher risk of complications including bronchopulmonary dysplasia and asthma when their mothers smoked during pregnancy. Smoking cessation in early pregnancy can help reduce the adverse impact on offspring health. Counselling interventions are effective in promoting smoking cessation and reducing the incidence of preterm birth. Peer support and incentive-based approaches are likely to be of additional benefit, whereas the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions, including nicotine replacement therapy, has not definitely been established. Smoke-free legislation can help reduce smoke exposure as well as maternal smoking rates at a population level, and is associated with a reduction in preterm birth. Helping future mothers to stop smoking and protect their children from second hand smoke exposure must be a key priority for health care workers and policy makers alike.
Keywords: Infant; Pregnancy; Premature birth; Prevention; Smoke-free policy; Smoking; Smoking cessation; Tobacco use.
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