Background: Following a successful period of nicotine abstinence during pregnancy approximately 50% of all women relapse to smoking during the 6 months after delivery. About 34% of all children are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke due to maternal smoking. The objectives of this study are: (a) which women postpartum intend to start smoking again, (b) how does the intention to resume smoking influence the smoking status after 6 months and (c) what are the individual reasons to start smoking again. Method: Four weeks after giving birth (T0) sociodemographic variables, smoking behaviour before pregnancy and the intention to resume smoking were assessed in a sample of 301 women who stopped smoking before or during pregnancy. Six months after giving birth (T1) 285 women answered questions regarding their smoking behaviour and reasons for relapse. Results: After giving birth 13% of the women intended to start smoking again. There was no statistical difference between women intending to start and women not intending to start smoking again with regard to sociodemography and smoking behaviour (p > 0.05). Six months later of these significantly more women smoked compared to the women without intention to resume smoking (68% vs. 27%, χ2 = 23.6; df = 1, p < 0.05, OR = 5.5). Individual reasons to resume smoking were reported by 50% of the women, stress being the most frequent reason. Discussion: At least one of ten women who were abstinent during the course of their pregnancy intends to start smoking again. They do not differ from women not intending to resume smoking. The intention to resume smoking has a predictive value for an early relapse, but also every fourth woman without intention resumes smoking. Just half of the women report a personal reason for relapsing. The results underline the need for proactive interventions for relapse prevention.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)