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Logo of jroyalcgpracBJGP at RCGPBJGP at PubMed CentralJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralRCGP homepage
J R Coll Gen Pract. 1986 November; 36(292): 494–495.
PMCID: PMC1960730

Smoking in pregnancy: is the message getting through?


In order to determine the current smoking habits of pregnant women and the success of anti-smoking advice, inpatient postpartum mothers were invited to complete a questionnaire on their smoking habits, their knowledge of the ill-effects of smoking .in pregnancy and their recollections and reactions to anti-smoking advice.

Over a third of the smokers replied that smoking in pregnancy had no harmful effects, compared with 1% of the non-smokers. Only 37% of the smokers said they knew of the risk of having a smaller baby as a result of smoking, compared with 63% of the non-smokers. A high proportion of both smokers and non-smokers did not recall receiving anti-smoking advice during pregnancy, 55% and 54% respectively. However, 48% of the smokers felt that anti-smoking advice was over-cautious, compared with 7% of the non-smokers.

It is concluded that many smokers are `blocking' the smoking advice given to them, and it is therefore ineffective. A different approach by health professionals is recommended and the emphasis of the advice given should be changed.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Bewley BR. Smoking in pregnancy. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984 Feb 11;288(6415):424–426. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Meredith HV. Relation between tobacco smoking of pregnant women and body size of their progeny: a compilation and synthesis of published studies. Hum Biol. 1975 Dec;47(4):451–472. [PubMed]
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  • Russell MA, Wilson C, Taylor C, Baker CD. Effect of general practitioners' advice against smoking. Br Med J. 1979 Jul 28;2(6184):231–235. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Moore J. Pregnancy: antenatal ignorance. Community Outlook. 1984 May 9;:147–148. [PubMed]

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