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February 10, 2012

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Passive smoke taints pregnancies

SOME 90 percent of pregnant women exposed to second-hand smoke have their amniotic fluid tainted by nicotine, a study conducted by the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found.

The study, the first of its kind in the city, strongly showed how smoking by other people endangers the health of a fetus, said experts involved in the study, sponsored by the Gates China Tobacco Control Project.

The local study, which kicked off in January 2011, was jointly supported by the Global Health Institute under Emory University in the US and the Beijing-based Think Tank Research Center for Health Development.

The Shanghai CDC conducted the study in Minhang and Jiading districts. It compared 2,150 pregnant women considered under the risk of second-hand smoking exposure and 1,350 pregnant women without such risk in Minhang, while 950 pregnant women with such risk and 650 women without it were studied in Jiading.

The study said 90 percent of pregnant women exposed to other people's smoking were found to have nicotine in their amniotic fluid, direct proof showing cigarette smoke pollutes the intrauterine environment.

Experts said second-hand smoking exposure is an important risk factor for pregnancy-induced hypertension syndrome and other pregnancy complications. It also is risky to a person's health from the very start of life, resulting in abnormal fetal development, especially on the nervous system and overall growth speed.

CDC experts said they will follow the cases in the study to collect more evidence about the impact of second-hand smoking to the mothers and babies.

Intervention and health education will be taught to pregnant women, including skills on how to avoid second-hand smoke and how to push husbands and family members to quit smoking.


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