Smoking Behaviors Among Indigenous Pregnant People Compared to a Matched Regional Cohort

Ann M. Rusk, Rachel E. Giblon, Alanna Chamberlain, Christi A. Patten, Jamie R. Felzer, Yvonne T. Bui, Chung Il Wi, Christopher C. Destephano, Barbara A. Abbott, Cassie Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Smoking commercial tobacco products is highly prevalent in American Indian and Alaska Native (Indigenous) pregnancies. This disparity directly contributes to maternal and fetal mortality. Our objective was to describe cigarette smoking prevalence, cessation intervention uptake, and cessation behaviors of pregnant Indigenous people compared to sex and age-matched regional cohort. AIMS AND METHODS: Pregnancies from an Indigenous cohort in Olmsted County, Minnesota, identified in the Rochester Epidemiology Project, were compared to pregnancies identified in a sex and age-matched non-Indigenous cohort from 2006 to 2019. Smoking status was defined as current, former, or never. All pregnancies were reviewed to identify cessation interventions and cessation events. The primary outcome was smoking prevalence during pregnancy, with secondary outcomes measuring uptake of smoking cessation interventions and cessation. RESULTS: The Indigenous cohort included 57 people with 81 pregnancies, compared to 226 non-Indigenous people with 358 pregnancies. Smoking was identified during 45.7% of Indigenous pregnancies versus 11.2% of non-Indigenous pregnancies (RR: 3.25, 95% CI = 1.98-5.31, p ≤ .0001). Although there was no difference in uptake of cessation interventions between cohorts, smoking cessation was significantly less likely during Indigenous pregnancies compared to non-Indigenous pregnancies (OR: 0.23, 95% CI = 0.07-0.72, p = .012). CONCLUSIONS: Indigenous pregnant people in Olmsted County, Minnesota were more than three times as likely to smoke cigarettes during pregnancy compared to the non-indigenous cohort. Despite equivalent uptake of cessation interventions, Indigenous people were less likely to quit than non-Indigenous people. Understanding why conventional smoking cessation interventions were ineffective at promoting cessation during pregnancy among Indigenous women warrants further study. IMPLICATIONS: Indigenous pregnant people in Olmsted County, Minnesota, were greater than three times more likely to smoke during pregnancy compared to a regional age matched non-Indigenous cohort. Although Indigenous and non-Indigenous pregnant people had equivalent uptake of cessation interventions offered during pregnancy, Indigenous people were significantly less likely to quit smoking before fetal delivery. This disparity in the effectiveness of standard of care interventions highlights the need for further study to understand barriers to cessation in pregnant Indigenous people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-897
Number of pages9
JournalNicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 6 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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