Smoking during pregnancy: Reduction via objective assessment and directive advice

Thomas A. Burling, George E. Bigelow, J. Courtland Robinson, Andrew M. Mead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Tobacco smoking during pregnancy was examined in a cross-sectional descriptive study (N=411) and a randomized intervention trial (N=139). Self-report and expired air carbon monoxide (CO) assessments conducted at routine prenatal clinic visits revealed a high prevalence of smoking among all patients (51%), especially young Caucasian women (68%). Smokers were randomized into a usual care condition or a minimal intervention condition consisting of a brief letter that provided feedback about CO elevations and recommended smoking cessation. Cessation was significantly greater among the intervention group (11.6%) than the control group (1.4%) at the following clinic visit. The significant difference between groups was not maintained at the last prenatal visit (13.0% vs. 5.7%), due to an increase in cessation among controls. The simplicity and efficacy of this approach, combined with its capacity to contact large portions of high-risk smokers, suggest substantial public health utility if broadly implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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