Congress logo
Back to Conference page

The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Tobacco use among pregnant women in a rural setting of Pakistan

Muhammad Masood Kadir, MBBS, MPH, FCPS, Department of Community Health Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, Pakistan

Objective: Tobacco use is one of the few preventable factors associated with adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth and perinatal death. Smoking prevalence among pregnant women in developed countries was reported to be between 20% and 33%. There is dearth of information about tobacco use among pregnant women in Pakistan. This study was conducted to obtain information about prevalence, and knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of tobacco use among pregnant women in a rural population in Pakistan.

Methods: In a predominantly rural district pregnant women of child-bearing age (18 to 45 years old) and with gestation beyond the first trimester were interviewed.

Results: In all 825 women were interviewed. Seventy five percent of them were illiterate. Of the 825, 84 (10 %) reported use of cigarettes. Four percent reported use of other forms of tobacco including smokeless tobacco like sniff, chewed. More than 90% thought that tobacco use was harmful to health. Only 9 have either stopped or reduced the use of cigarettes after becoming pregnant. In 13 %of the households there were one or more other family member smoking. Strikingly in vast majority of cases smoking inside the homes was acceptable. Our study, the first of its kind, gives conservative estimate of exposure to tobacco products particularly smoked tobacco faced by pregnant women in rural setting in Pakistan. Even this is higher than reported in previous studies. This calls for interventions to prevent pregnant women and newborns from primary and secondary exposure to tobacco.