A new government study finds 22 percent of white women have smoked cigarettes during their pregnancy, ABC News reports. In contrast, 14 percent of black women, and 6.5 percent of Hispanic women, have done so. The study was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
“When pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a statement. “Pregnant women of different races and ethnicities may have diverse patterns of substance abuse. It is essential that we use the findings from this report to develop better ways of getting this key message out to every segment of our community so that no woman or child is endangered by substance use and abuse.”
The study found the rate of alcohol use during pregnancy was between 12 and 13 percent among both white and black women. Among Hispanic women, the rate was 7.4 percent.
Illegal drug use was more common among black pregnant women (7.7 percent) than white women (4.4 percent) or Hispanic women (3.1 percent).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the dangers of smoking during pregnancy include premature birth, certain birth defects, and infant death.