Factors Associated With Quitting Smoking During Pregnancy Among Women Veterans

Womens Health Issues. 2021 Jul-Aug;31(4):408-413. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2021.04.006. Epub 2021 May 25.


Introduction: Little is known about the rates of smoking among pregnant veterans. Our objective was to examine rates of smoking during pregnancy and factors associated with quitting smoking during pregnancy.

Methods: We used data from a cohort study of pregnant veterans from 15 Veterans Health Administration facilities nationwide. Veterans who reported smoking during pregnancy were included in this analysis. Poisson regression models were used to estimate the relative risk (RR) of quitting smoking during pregnancy.

Results: Overall, 133 veterans reported smoking during pregnancy. Among this group of women who smoked, the average age was 31.6 years, 20% were Black, and 14% were Hispanic/Latino. More than one-half of women (65%) who reported smoking at the start of pregnancy quit smoking during pregnancy. Multivariable models, adjusted for history of deployment and age, indicated that prenatal care initiation at 12 or fewer weeks compared with more than 13 weeks (relative risk [RR], 2.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-3.58), living without household smokers compared with any household smokers (RR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.14-2.17), and first pregnancy (RR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.17-1.95) were significant predictors of quitting versus persistent smoking during pregnancy.

Conclusions: Women veterans who quit smoking may be different than those who continue to smoke during pregnancy. Establishing prenatal care early in pregnancy, which likely includes counseling about smoking cessation, seems to be an important factor in quitting. Those for whom it is not a first pregnancy and who live with other smokers may especially benefit from such counseling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Veterans*