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Newly-defined factors may prevent postpartum smoking relapse
Date:8/27/2008

CHAPEL HILL Although many women quit smoking during pregnancy to protect their unborn children from the effects of cigarettes, half of them resume the habit within a few months of giving birth.

By shedding light on the factors that enable the other half to put down that cigarette for good, a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill could lead to programs designed to help women quit and stay quit.

According to the study, women with a live-in partner who shared some of the burden of child-rearing were more likely to remain smoke free, while women who were single mothers or who lacked the social and financial resources to deal with being a new parent were more likely to relapse.

"In the future we can look at these and other factors in women who quit smoking during pregnancy to assess who is at low or high risk of relapse," said Carol E. Ripley-Moffitt, MDiv, research associate in UNC's department of family medicine and the study's lead author. "We can then offer more intensive interventions for those at higher risk to address the physical, behavioral and social issues related to relapse."

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risks of pregnancy complications, decreased birth weight and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), Ripley-Moffitt said. She noted that the past 15 years have seen a steady decrease in the number of women who smoke while pregnant, in part because of an overall decline in smoking rates among all women of childbearing age and in part because of interventions targeting women during the prenatal period.

"But more needs to be done because over 50 percent of women who quit the habit during pregnancy are smoking again at six months postpartum," Ripley-Moffitt said.

The UNC study, which appears in the August issue of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, is the first to examine not only the factors leading to relapse but also those leading to a smoke-fr
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Contact: Stephanie Crayton
scrayton@unch.unc.edu
919-966-2860
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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