A really eye-opening study done in Buffalo shows that pregnant women who inhale a lot of secondhand smoke have a higher incidence of stillbirths, ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages than women who do not.
It’s long been known that smoking is bad for pregnant women and their babies, but this is the first study I’ve seen showing how secondhand smoke is damaging to pregnant women and their babies. Really powerful study.
This story will sure to make the smokers’ rights’ crowd go nuts. I haven’t tangled with that crowd in a long time, but one of their loudest arguments — in complete defiance of absolute reams of studies stating otherwise — is that secondhand smoke is essentially harmless and all the studies stating otherwise were just “junk science.” A lot of people actually listened to these people 10-15 years ago, but they don’t have much of an audience anymore.
These people are just like global warming denialists and people who denied for decades that smoking causes lung cancer. The study compared populations of women who were exposed to secondhand smoke before and during their pregnancies to women who were never exposed to secondhand smoke.
According to the conclusions:
For nonsmoking women exposed to the highest levels of secondhand smoke, the study reported a 17 percent higher risk of miscarriage, a 55 percent higher risk for stillbirth and a 61 percent higher risk of ectopic pregnancy, a complication when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.
Those risks approached the risks seen among women who smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, the researchers said.
The highest level of lifetime secondhand smoke exposure was defined by childhood exposure for longer than 10 years, adult home exposure for more than 20 years and adult work exposure for more than 10 years.
Some of those numbers are pretty startling — a 55 percent increase in stillbirths. Christ, if you gotta smoke, go ahead and smoke, just don’t smoke around kids … or pregnant women. Please, just don’t.
“The significance of the study is that it shows that secondhand smoke is more harmful than previously thought, not just during pregnancy but over a woman’s lifetime,” said Vince Willmore, vice president for communications at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, D.C.
“Hopefully, information like this will encourage people who smoke to be more sensitive about smoking in the house,” said Gary Giovino, chairman of the University at Buffalo’s Department of Community Health and Health Behavior.