Higher Taxes, Smoke-Free Policies Are Reducing Smoking in Moms-to-Be

Impact of state spending on tobacco control not as clear, scientists report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

San Diego, CA, June 5, 2012 – It’s estimated that almost 23% of women enter pregnancy as smokers and more than half continue to smoke during pregnancy, leading to excess healthcare costs at delivery and beyond. In one of the first studies to assess smoking bans and taxes on cigarettes, along with the level of tobacco control spending, researchers have found that state tobacco control policies can be effective in curbing smoking during pregnancy, and in preventing a return to smoking within four months on average, after delivery. The results were published online today in advance of the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“This is one of the first studies of pregnant women’s smoking in the new era of more restrictive state tobacco control policies,” says lead investigator E. Kathleen Adams, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, Emory University. “We found that a $1.00 increase in cigarette taxes increases the quit rate among pregnant women from 44.1% to 48.9%, a sizable effect. Moreover, tax policies appear to be effective in keeping these women from relapsing in the first few months postpartum, and the implementation of a full workplace smoke-free policy also increases quits.” 

Researchers from Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined cigarette smoking among 225,445 women with live births from 2000-2005 in 29 states plus New York City. Data on smoking status (pre-pregnancy smoking; quitting during pregnancy; and remaining quit 4 months after delivery) were merged with cigarette price data, including federal, state, and local cigarette excise taxes, data on state tobacco control spending for the period, and the existence of full or partial bans of worksite or restaurant smoking. 

Investigators determined that a $1.00 increase in taxes and prices increases the probability of quitting by the last three months of pregnancy by 4.8 percentage points. The probability of having sustained nonsmoking four months after delivery is increased by 4.2 percentage points or from 21.3% to 25.5%, with a $1.00 increase in real taxes. A full ban on smoking at private worksites increased the probability of quitting smoking during pregnancy by 4-5 percentage points.

The findings did not indicate that cumulative tobacco control spending affects smoking among pregnant women. “Insignificant results on tobacco control spending may indicate that such spending needs to reach a minimum threshold recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” notes Dr. Adams. “If additional tobacco tax revenues were used by states to support implementation of smoke-free and other effective policies, then tax policy could have additional effects on prevalence of smoking and in turn, help improve birth outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs at delivery.” 

 

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Notes for editors
“Reducing Prenatal Smoking: The Role of State Policies,” by E.K. Adams, PhD, S. Markowitz, PhD, V. Kannan, MPH, P.M. Dietz, DrPH, MPH, V.T. Tong, MPH, A.M. Malarcher, PhD, MSPH (DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.02.030). It appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 43, Issue 1 (July 2012), published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Beverly Lytton at +1 858 534 9340 oreAJPM@ucsd.edu. Journalists wishing to interview the study authors may contact Kathleen Adams at +1 404 759 4400 or eadam01@emory.edu or Sara Markowitz at +1 404 712 8167 or sara.markowitz@emory.edu.

About the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine ( www.ajpm-online.net) is the official journal of The American College of Preventive Medicine ( www.acpm.org) and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research ( www.aptrmweb.org). It publishes articles in the areas of prevention research, teaching, practice and policy. Original research is published on interventions aimed at the prevention of chronic and acute disease and the promotion of individual and community health. The journal features papers that address the primary and secondary prevention of important clinical, behavioral and public health issues such as injury and violence, infectious disease, women's health, smoking, sedentary behaviors and physical activity, nutrition, diabetes, obesity, and alcohol and drug abuse. Papers also address educational initiatives aimed at improving the ability of health professionals to provide effective clinical prevention and public health services. The journal also publishes official policy statements from the two co-sponsoring organizations, health services research pertinent to prevention and public health, review articles, media reviews, and editorials.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, with an Impact Factor of 4.110, is ranked 10th out of 140 Public, Environmental and Occupational Health titles and 18th out of 151 General & Internal Medicine titles according to the 2010 Journal Citation Reports® published by Thomson Reuters.

About Elsevier

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Media contact
Beverly Lytton
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
+1 858 534 9340
eAJPM@ucsd.edu