Giving birth can provide an opportunity for parents to quit smoking, according to a study published in the March issue of Pediatrics (appearing online now). The study, “Using the Postpartum Hospital Stay to address Mothers’ and Fathers’ Smoking: The NEWS Study measured the smoking status of all new parents giving birth at a hospital birth center over a 14-month period. The investigators enrolled 101 new parents who were either current smokers or who had recently quit. Approximately half received in-person counseling and the opportunity to join a telephone quit line. Letters were also sent to the newborn’s pediatrician, the parents’ primary care provider, and the mothers obstetrician letting them know about the parents’ intention to quit and recommending quit strategies.


Of the current smokers, 64% in the intervention group reported a quit attempt, versus 18% of the control group. The investigators suggested that the hospital stay could be an opportune time to coach new fathers, noting that while 90% of mothers were counseled by their obstetricians to quit, only 15% of fathers received this advice. Enrollment in the smoking cessation programs during the immediate postpartum stay seemed to spur fathers to attempt to stop smoking: 75% enrolled in the quit line.