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One in 14 U.S. Women Smoke During Pregnancy

March 2, 2018

A new data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 14 women smoked during pregnancy in 2016, despite the well-known risks of low birthweight, preterm birth, and birth defects.

Overall, 7.2% of women who gave birth in 2016 smoked cigarettes while they were pregnant. Prevalence of smoking during pregnancy varied by age, education, state of residence, and race.

  • Prevalence of smoking during pregnancy was highest for women aged 20–24 (10.7%), followed by women aged 15–19 (8.5%) and 25–29 (8.2%).
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native women had the highest prevalence of smoking during pregnancy (16.7%); non-Hispanic Asian women had the lowest (0.6%).
  • The prevalence of smoking during pregnancy was highest among women with a completed high school education (12.2%), and second-highest among women with less than a high school education (11.7%).
  • The prevalence of smoking during pregnancy was highest in West Virginia (25.1%), followed by Kentucky (18.4%), Montana (16.5%), Vermont (15.5%), and Missouri (15.3%). It was lowest in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and D.C.; each had a prevalence of less than 5.0%.

The data brief reports on the prevalence of cigarette smoking at any time during pregnancy; it is based on information from the 2016 natality data file of the National Vital Statistics System. The U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth was revised in 2003 to include new and modified items on maternal cigarette smoking before and during pregnancy.


National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Cigarette Smoking During Pregnancy: United States, 2016. NCHS Data Brief No. 305, February 2018. Available at: click here. Accessed March 1, 2018.