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Smoking Prevalence Among Women of Reproductive Age, United States—2006

This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being updated.

August 8, 2008 / Vol. 57 / No. 31

MMWR Highlights

  • Median smoking prevalence for women of reproductive age stood at 22.4%, which is higher than the 18.5% median smoking prevalence reported for women aged > 18 years in a separate study of the general population.
  • There was a six-fold difference among the states and the territories in cigarette smoking prevalence by women of reproductive age ranging from 5.8% in the U.S. Virgin Islands to 34.7% in Kentucky.
  • In terms of current smoking, prevalence was highest among—
    • Non-Hispanic whites (24.5%).
    • Those with a high school education (29.4%).
    • Those with less than high school education (28.3%).
    • Divorced, widowed, or separated women (34.7%).
Quit Attempts
  • Those aged 18–24 years (26.3%), non-Hispanic blacks (24.5%), and those with less than a high school education (24.7%) had the lowest percent of ever smokers who quit.
  • Those with a college education (59.7%) and married women (49.6%) had the highest percent of ever smokers who had quit.
  • Those aged 18–24 years (68.4%) and non-Hispanic blacks (68.1%) had the highest prevalence of quit attempts.
  • Among women of reproductive age, those aged 18–24 years were most likely to have attempted to quit (68.4%), but least likely to have quit smoking successfully (26.3%).
  • Among women of reproductive age, the percent of ever smokers who have quit varied among the states and the territories; for example
    • U.S. Virgin Islands (51.0%) and California (50.4%) had the highest rates.
    • Louisiana (26.8%) and Mississippi (27.3%) had the lowest rates.
  • Among women of reproductive age, the percent of ever smokers who made a quit attempt in the previous year varied among the states and the territories; for example
    • Delaware (67.7%) and Puerto Rico (66.6%) had the highest proportion.
    • Arizona (33.6%) and Kentucky (43.4%) had the lowest.
Health Impact and Economic Costs of Smoking by Women of Reproductive Age
  • Women of reproductive age who smoke are at increased risk for multiple adverse pregnancy-related health outcomes, including difficulty conceiving, infertility, spontaneous abortion, premature rupture of membranes, low birth weight, neonatal mortality, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • These women also are at increased risk for adverse health outcomes, including lung and other cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease.
  • Children living in households in which an adult smokes are often exposed to secondhand smoke, with the associated adverse health consequences and economic costs. In addition, youth living with adults that model smoking behavior are more likely to become smokers themselves.
  • Estimated neonatal health care costs attributable to maternal smoking are approximately $366 million per year in the United States.
  • Smoking cessation is beneficial at any age, but the relative benefits of cessation are greater if women can stop smoking at younger ages, before they develop smoking-related diseases.