Tobacco policy reform and population-wide antismoking activities in Australia: the impact on smoking during pregnancy

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Abstract

Introduction

This study examined the impact of antismoking activities targeting the general population and an advertising campaign targeting smoking during pregnancy on the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

Methods

Monthly prevalence of smoking during pregnancy was calculated using linked health records for all pregnancies resulting in a birth (800 619) in NSW from 2003 to 2011. Segmented regression of interrupted time series data assessed the effects of the extension of the ban on smoking in enclosed public places to include licensed premises (evaluated in combination with the mandating of graphic warnings on cigarette packs), television advertisements targeting smoking in the general population, print and online magazine advertisements targeting smoking during pregnancy and increased tobacco tax. Analyses were conducted for all pregnancies, and for the population stratified by maternal age, parity and socioeconomic status. Further analyses adjusted for the effect of the Baby Bonus maternity payment.

Results

Prevalence of smoking during pregnancy decreased from 2003 to 2011 overall (0.39% per month), and for all strata examined. For pregnancies overall, none of the evaluated initiatives was associated with a change in the trend of smoking during pregnancy. Significant changes associated with increased tobacco tax and the extension of the smoking ban (in combination with graphic warnings) were found in some strata.

Conclusions

The declining prevalence of smoking during pregnancy between 2003 and 2011, while encouraging, does not appear to be directly related to general population antismoking activities or a pregnancy-specific campaign undertaken in this period.

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