Tobacco a threat to pregnant women and children in developing world..

March 6, 2008 - Tobacco a threat to pregnant women and children in developing world.. An NIH study indicates that rates of tobacco use during pregnancy, as well as exposure of pregnant women and their young children to secondhand smoke, are significant threats to health in several low and middle-income countries. This study is the first to examine pregnant women's tobacco use, second-hand smoke exposure and attitudes toward women's tobacco use in multiple developing countries. The study was conducted by an international team of investigators, The researchers conducted this investigative survey in nine developing nations to get a preliminary look at the magnitude of the problem. The researchers found as many as 18 percent of pregnant women currently smoked cigarettes, up to one-third used smokeless tobacco, and as many of half were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in the nations studied. Uruguay and Argentina had the highest levels of smoking during pregnancy across all ten study sites (18 percent and 10 percent respectively). In the Indian sites, one-third of all pregnant women used smokeless tobacco in Orissa and about twenty percent of pregnant women in Karnataka were often exposed to secondhand smoke. The highest levels of secondhand smoke exposure were found in Pakistan, where about half of all pregnant women and their young children were frequently or always exposed to secondhand smoke. About one in ten pregnant women at the site in Pakistan reported that they had tried cigarette smoking. Lead study author - lead author Michele Bloch, M.D., Ph.D., of NCI's Tobacco Control Research Branch. Findings of study will appear in the April 2008 issue. Amer. J. Public Health. Click on image to enlarge..