Taxes on Cigarettes Prevent Mothers from Smoking

State policies on tobacco use and taxes on cigarettes prevent mothers-to-be from smoking, says a new study. Also, these policies prevent mothers from getting back to their old smoking habits for at least 4 months after delivery.

"This is one of the first studies of pregnant women's smoking in the new era of more restrictive state tobacco control policies," said Kathleen Adams from Department of Health Policy and Management, Emory University. Adams is the lead researcher of the study.

The study was conducted by researchers from Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data about cigarette smoking habits of about 225,000 women across 29 states plus New York.

It was found that a $1.00 increase in taxes and prices increases the probability of women to quit smoking during pregnancy and staying quit for almost 4 months after delivery. A full ban of smoking in public places too ups the chances of women quitting smoking.

"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," Dr. Adams said.

Slow brain development and even early death of infants are risks associated with maternal smoking.

Many studies have found that exposure to smoking leads to blood pressure changes in babies.

"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. 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," said Dr. Adams.

Reports suggest that almost 23 percent of women in U.S. enter pregnancy as smokers and at least half of these women continue smoking during pregnancy.

The New York Times reported that the support for Proposition 29, that seeks an additional $1.00 tax per cigarette pack in California, has come down from 67 percent in March to 53 percent in June.