Smoking and Pregnancy

Smoking & Pregnancy

Smoking causes complications during pregnancy and childbirth as well as adverse health outcomes of neonates and children.

Smoking during pregnancy increases incidence of placenta previa, abruptio placentae, ectopic pregnancy and premature rupture of the membranes and preterm labour.1

It is also associated with low birth weight babies, perinatal mortality and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).2 Smoking during pregnancy also puts babies at increased risk for congenital abnormalities1. Furthermore, smoking in-utero puts children at risk for developing asthma, respiratory infections and otitis.3 In addition, some studies have shown associations with smoking during pregnancy and behavioural disorders such as attention deficit or hyperactivity.4 Most complications of smoking are reversible with smoking cessation. It is Smoking cessation is strongly recommended for pregnant women. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is the primary cessation approach as it is the safest for the unborn child.5 Cognitive-behavioural interventions are beneficial, cost-effective and include face-to-face communication, spending more time with healthcare providers or seeing them more often in addition to getting self-help printed guide. Follow-up appointment post-partum can also prevent recurrence of smoking.

Men who smoke and want to become fathers are also more likely to experience difficulty conceiving due to the effects of their smoking on their reproductive health. More specifically, men who smoke are at risk for erectile dysfunction and DNA alterations of the sperm.6 At very least, a man who smokes exposes his family and unborn child to passive smoking.


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress.A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA; 2014.
  2. World Health Organization. Tobacco: Fact Sheet. Published 2018.
  3. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use Fact Sheet, Secondhand Smoke. Published 2018.
  4. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking in Pregnancy: A Possible Risk for ADHD | Features | CDC. Published 2017.
  5. Cressman AM, Pupco A, Kim E, Koren G, Bozzo P. Smoking cessation therapy during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2012;58(5):525-527.
  6. Weisberg E. Smoking and reproductive health. Clin Reprod Fertil. 1985;3(3):175-186.

The SMOKEFREEGREECE initiative, established in 2009 for tobacco prevention with an emphasis in the school community, does not in any capacity, hold any obligation or relation to any funders, institutions, persons, or initiatives with similar names and/or scope. Does not have any financial, ideological, social relationship or collaboration with any industry related to the manufacturing, production, distribution or promotion of tobacco and/or other novel tobacco products.

The SMOKEFREEGREECE initiative is fully funded by the Behrakis Foundation Boston MA and is supported by the NGO Hellenic Cancer Society and the Educational Institution, The American College of Greece.

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