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Smoking During Pregnancy Issues Essay

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Table of Contents
Introduction
Discussion section
Conclusion
References

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Introduction

At equivalent levels of nicotine intake, pregnant women metabolize nicotine more slowly than men and therefore experience higher sustained blood levels of nicotine. Three things to be learned from the research are the impact of smoking on a woman, possible dangers and complications and the importance of smoking cessation interventions. This slower metabolism is thought to enhance the reinforcing properties of smoking. Moreover, evidence suggests that there are also racial differences in nicotine metabolism which may further increase the dependence properties of nicotine for minority pregnant women. Clinical evidence of greater perceptions of muscle tension and reaction time that have been associated with nicotine deprivation in women compared to non-pregnant women suggests that pregnant women may derive greater physiologic benefits from nicotine (Albaum et al 2002). Although there appear to be no gender differences in the severity of symptoms experienced during nicotine withdrawal, it has been suggested that women experience withdrawal differently than men, with women reporting more depressive affect and cigarette craving than men (Pregnancy and Smoking, 2010). There is consistent evidence that nicotine increases the metabolism of smokers as evidenced in smokers weighing less on average than nonsmokers.

Discussion section

Despite widespread public awareness of the multiple health risks associated with smoking, one out of every four pregnant girls under age 18 is a smoker and more than 25 million American women smoke. If current trends continue, smoking rates of women will overtake those of men by the year 2000. Smoking rates are highest, approaching 30%, among women of reproductive age (18–44 years). Rates of smoking are particularly high among young White women with a high school education or less and low income (Pregnancy and Smoking, 2010). Cessation rates are lower among pregnant African American women (30% have quit) compared to White women. Minority pregnant women who have low rates of self-initiated cessation are also underrepresented in formal smoking cessation programs. A greater proportion of women than men are pre-contemplators, that is, not considering quitting smoking within 6 months and have lower self-confidence that they could quit if they were to try. However, the debate continues regarding whether or not women are less likely to be successful at quitting when they try than men, with some evidence suggesting that women are more likely than men to relapse and others indicating no gender differences. Regardless, rates of relapse are very high, both among self-quitters and those who participate in formal cessation (Brinkman et al 2002).

Pregnant women are higher utilizers of health services, particularly in their reproductive and childrearing years. Pregnant women’s childbearing role creates unique physical, social, and clinical contexts for smoking cessation interventions. High rates of smoking among women make the development and evaluation of effective smoking cessation interventions a health promotion priority. The unique barriers to quitting reported by women suggest that interventions must address weight concerns, stressful lifestyles, and more healthful ways to cope with negative moods and depression (Gilman and Xhou Zun, 2004). More work is needed to design and evaluate interventions that encourage smoking cessation simultaneous with behavior changes (e.g., increasing exercise) that can enhance the potential for long-term maintenance of cessation. Pregnant women’s greater use of health services presents multiple opportunities for providing cessation interventions to women in clinical settings. Organizational and system barriers to these interventions present major obstacles to the widespread adoption of these approaches. Community-wide interventions could accelerate secular trends in cessation, particularly among light smokers.

Conclusion

However, these approaches are likely to be ineffective for highly addicted smokers. The sources used for these findings are research longitudinal studies on the topic of smoking, statistical data and government census information. Also, special attention will be paid to secondary literature and theoretical literature on the topic.

References

Albaum, G., Baker, K.G., Hozier, G.C., Rogers, R.D. (2002). Smoking Behavior, Information Sources, and Consumption Values of Teenagers: Implications for Public Policy and Other Intervention Failures. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 36 (1), 5-55.

Brinkman, M.C., Callahan, P.J., Gordon, S.M., Kenny, D.V., Wallace, L.A. (2002).

Volatile Organic Compounds as Breath Biomarkers for Active and Passive Smoking. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110 (7), p. 689.

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Gilman Sander L. and Xhou Zun. (2004). Smoke: A global history of Smoking. Reaktion Books; illustrated edition.

Pregnancy and Smoking. (2010). Web.

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