Pregnant smokers: Potential for improvement of intervention

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Mette Rasmussen
Hanne Tønnesen


Background  In many countries, smoking is considered as the most important preventable risk factor for a complicated pregnancy and delivery. However in Denmark, there is no clear picture of pregnant women. The aim was therefore to examine the prevalence, characteristics and registration of maternal smoking and quitting during pregnancy as well as estimate the potential for improvement.

Methods  This is a cohort study on smoking and quitting prevalence among 422,221 pregnant women in Denmark from 2006- 2012. Data from the Danish National Birth Register was linked with data from the Danish National Smoking Cessation Database in order to identify pregnant smokers undertaking a formalised smoking cessation intervention.

Results  Overall, 13% of the pregnant women were smokers. The smoking prevalence was highest among mothers younger than 25 years of age (29%) compared to 10-11% among the other age groups. All prognostic factors in the final analyses were in some way associated with the outcome. A group of 1,279 pregnant women underwent formal smoking cessation intervention programs with follow-up after 6 months. Of these, 232 were registered as non-smokers and 40 had no information on smoking in the Danish National Birth Registry. The potential for reducing smoking among pregnant women was high. 25-32% more quitters would be expected with a comprehensive Gold Standard Programme for smoking cessation.

Conclusion  This study indicates an urgent need for increased focus on offering effective smoking cessation programs to all groups of pregnant smokers, but with a special attention to the youngest group.

Article Details

How to Cite
Rasmussen M, Tønnesen H. Pregnant smokers: Potential for improvement of intervention. ClinHealthPromot [Internet]. 2015 Dec. 31 [cited 2023 Dec. 7];5(3):67-73. Available from:
Original article


Mette Rasmussen, Hanne Tønnesen

About the authors:

WHO-CC, Clinical Health Promotion Centre,

Bispebjerg &Frederiksberg Hospital,

University of Copenhagen 2 Health Science,

University of Southern Denmark 3 WHO-CC,

Clinical Health Promotion Centre, Health Sciences, Lund University

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