More women in Hamilton County may be smoking and exposed to nicotine during pregnancy than previously thought, according to this new study by researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in collaboration with Cradle Cincinnati

The study found a significant gap between the number of local, pregnant mothers who report smoking during pregnancy and the number who test positive for nicotine exposure.

16.5% of women in the study screened positive for high-level nicotine exposure, while an additional 7.5% screened positive for low-level exposure.  Only 8.6% admitted to using cigarettes.

Smoking increases the risk of preterm birth, SIDS and birth defects – the three leading causes of infant death, both locally and nationally.

African American women reported tobacco use rates of 7.9%, but that number rose to 21.1% when measuring for nicotine exposure. These findings reveal the importance of public health efforts to decrease tobacco and e-cigarette use among pregnant minority women.

An additional 7.5% of women tested positive for secondhand smoke during pregnancy, bringing total smoke exposure up to nearly one in four women. Anyone trying to quit smoking during pregnancy can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to receive personalized, over-the-phone support.