Incarceration and perinatal smoking: A missed public health opportunity

Dora M. Dumont, Donna R. Parker, Samara Viner-Brown, Jennifer G. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Incarceration is simultaneously a public health opportunity and a public health concern. We examined the association between maternal/partner incarceration in the year prior to birth and perinatal smoking. Methods: We pooled 2006-2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System. Controlling for age, race/ethnicity, education, marital status and other stressors, we assessed prevalence and heaviness of perinatal smoking. Findings: Women who reported incarceration of themselves or their partners in the year prior to delivery were more likely to smoke during the last trimester of pregnancy (adjusted OR (AOR) 1.51 (95% CI 1.36 to 1.67)), and they were more likely to smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day compared to smokers who did not report incarceration (AOR 1.35 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.65)). Patterns were similar for the 3 months prior to pregnancy and postbirth smoking. Conclusions: Incarceration of a parent in the 12 months before birth is associated with increased risk of fetal and newborn exposure to smoking. The criminal justice system can be utilised by public health practitioners to target perinatal smoking reduction interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-653
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of epidemiology and community health
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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