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Timing of Prenatal Smoking Cessation or Reduction and Infant Birth Weight: Evidence from the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study


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  • Ji Yan
  • Peter A. Groothuis


Objectives: Smoking during pregnancy is a key preventable risk contributor to poor infant health. Our study presents a full dynamic relationship between the timing of prenatal smoking cessation or reduction and infant birth weight. Methods: Using a large representative dataset of birth cohort in the United Kingdom, we apply multiple linear regressions to examine how smoking cessation or reduction at different stages especially different months of pregnancy affects infant birth weight. For robustness checks, a rich set of covariates are controlled and a series of variable selection procedures are used. Results: We find robust evidence that mothers who quit smoking before the fourth month of pregnancy have infants of the same weight as those of nonsmokers. However, cessation after the fourth month or smoking beyond this threshold month is associated with substantially lower infant birth weights. Two third of the total adverse smoking impact on infant birth weight occurs in the second trimester. Our study also shows heavy persistent smokers should cut smoking intensity before the fourth month during pregnancy, in order to deliver infants as heavy as those born to persistent light smokers. Conclusions: Overall, our research suggests that the cost effectiveness of prenatal smoking cessation services can be significantly improved, if they can encourage more pregnant women to quit or reduce smoking by the end of the first trimester. Promoting timely smoking cessation or reduction can help policy makers and medical practitioners reduce the huge healthcare costs of poor birth outcomes attributable to prenatal smoking. Key Words: Prenatal Smoking; Timing of Smoking Cessation; Timing of Smoking Reduction; Infant Birth Weight

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 13-16.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:13-16

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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 11796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. E. Kathleen Adams & Vincent P. Miller & Carla Ernst & Brenda K. Nishimura & Cathy Melvin & Robert Merritt, 2002. "Neonatal health care costs related to smoking during pregnancy," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(3), pages 193-206.
  3. Petrou, Stavros & Hockley, Christine & Mehta, Ziyah & Goldacre, Michael, 2005. "The association between smoking during pregnancy and hospital inpatient costs in childhood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 1071-1085, March.
  4. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
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  1. #HEJC papers for September 2013
    by academichealtheconomists in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-08-31 23:01:38
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Cited by:
  1. Jeffrey E. Harris & Ana Inés Balsa & Patricia Triunfo, 2014. "Tobacco Control Campaign in Uruguay: Impact on Smoking Cessation during Pregnancy," NBER Working Papers 19878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


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