• Article

Smoking cessation and relapse among pregnant African-American smokers in Washington, DC

Smoking is the single most preventable cause of perinatal morbidity. This study examines smoking behaviors during pregnancy in a high risk population of African Americans. The study also examines risk factors associated with smoking behaviors and cessation in response to a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention. This study is a secondary analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial addressing multiple risks during pregnancy. Five hundred African-American Washington, DC residents who reported smoking in the 6 months preceding pregnancy were randomized to a CBT intervention. Psycho-social and behavioral data were collected. Self-reported smoking and salivary cotinine levels were measured prenatally and postpartum to assess changes in smoking behavior. Comparisons were made between active smokers and those abstaining at baseline and follow-up in pregnancy and postpartum. Sixty percent of participants reported quitting spontaneously during pregnancy. In regression models, smoking at baseline was associated with older age, <a high school education and illicit drug use. At follow-up closest to delivery, smoking was associated with lower education, smoking and cotinine level at baseline and depression. At postpartum, there was a relapse of 34%. Smokers postpartum were significantly more likely to smoke at baseline and use illicit drugs in pregnancy. Mothers in the CBT intervention were less likely to relapse. African-American women had a high spontaneous quit rate and no response to a CBT intervention during pregnancy. Postpartum mothers’ resolve to maintain a quit status seems to wane despite their prolonged period of cessation. CBT reduced postpartum relapse rates.


El-Mohandes, AAE., El-Khorazaty, MN., Kiely, M., & Gantz, M. (2011). Smoking cessation and relapse among pregnant African-American smokers in Washington, DC. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 15(Suppl. 1), 96-105. DOI: 10.1007/s10995-011-0825-6

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