Nav: Home

New study shows smoking can affect breastfeeding habits

August 02, 2018

Researchers have determined that new mothers exposed to cigarette smoke in their homes, stop breastfeeding sooner than women not exposed to second-hand smoke.

The study, conducted in Hong Kong, involved more than 1,200 women from four large hospitals, explains Professor Marie Tarrant, Director of UBC Okanagan's School of Nursing. Tarrant, whose research focuses on maternal and child health, taught in the faculty of Medicine in the University of Hong Kong before joining UBC.

"Our study showed that just being in a smoking household--whether it was the husband, mother or member of the extended family--reduced the time that a child was breast fed," says Tarrant. "In fact, the more smokers there were in the home, the shorter the breastfeeding duration."

This study, says Tarrant, is one of the first to examine the effect of family members' smoking on the duration of breastfeeding in Hong Kong after that country made substantial changes to tobacco control regulations in 2007. In Hong Kong about four per cent of women and 18 per cent of men smoke, for a national average of about 10 per cent of the population--compared to Mainland China where smoking statistics are still quite high. In Canada, about 14 per cent of the population smokes more than one cigarette a day.

"Our findings were consistent with previous studies and we found that exposure to household smokers also had a substantial negative effect on breastfeeding practices," says Tarrant. "More than one-third of participants had partners or other household members who smoked. And fathers who smoked were significantly less likely to prefer breastfeeding when compared with non-smoking partners."

Nicotine is transmitted in the breastmilk to the child and Tarrant says there is also some suggestion that it can may reduce the overall quantity of the breastmilk. There is also the concern regarding the environmental exposure of second-hand smoke on the child.

"Our study did show that smoking partners may affect the mother's decision to stop breastfeeding and that paternal and household smoking exposure is strongly associated with a shorter breastfeeding duration."

Tarrant says the takeaway from the study is to recommend that women and their families quit smoking before they become pregnant and for new mothers to wait until they have finished breastfeeding, if they choose to restart smoking. And she recommends if a woman chooses to smoke with a baby in the home, they make sure the infant is not exposed to second-hand smoke.

"We know the effects of environmental tobacco smoke on young babies is very detrimental as babies who are around smoking are more like to get respiratory infections and other experience other respiratory problems," says Tarrant. "However, if a mother is breastfeeding, the benefits of her doing that still outweigh the negative effects of the smoking as long as she maintains good smoking hygiene and doesn't expose the baby to tobacco smoke."

Tarrant's study was published recently in the Breastfeeding Medicine journal.
-end-
Media Contact: Nathan Skolski

Associate Director, Public Affairs | University Relations
The University of British Columbia | Okanagan campus
Phone: 250-807-9926
Email: nathan.skolski@ubc.ca

ABOUT UBC's OKANAGAN CAMPUS

UBC's Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia's stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is a globally recognized research-intensive institution whose Okanagan campus was established in 2005.

The Okanagan campus emphasizes smaller class sizes, experiential learning, and research activity for students, combining a world-class UBC degree with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community.

As part of North America's most international university, the campus is home to 9,000 students representing 98 countries.

University of British Columbia Okanagan campus

Related Smoking Articles:

Telomere length unaffected by smoking
A new study has surprised the medical world, finding that smoking does not shorten the length of telomeres -- a marker at the end of our chromosomes that is widely accepted as an indicator of aging.
Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.
Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.
Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.
Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.
A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.
A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.
No safe level of smoking
People who consistently smoked an average of less than one cigarette per day over their lifetime had a 64 percent higher risk of earlier death than people who never smoked.
More Smoking News and Smoking Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.