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Strengthening the evidence for maternal and child health programs

Evidence Tools
NPM 14

paper cutout people holding a used cigaretteSmoking


The Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to States Program guidance defines the significance of this goal as follows:

Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to experience a fetal death or deliver a low birth weight baby. Further, secondhand smoke (SHS) is a mixture of mainstream smoke (exhaled by smoker) and the more toxic side stream smoke (from lit end of nicotine product) which is classified as a "known human carcinogen" by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Adverse effects of parental smoking on children have been a clinical and public health concern for decades and were documented in the 1986 U.S. Surgeon General Report.

The only way to fully protect non-smokers from indoor exposure to SHS is to prevent all smoking in the space; separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings do not eliminate exposure. Unfortunately, millions (more than 60%) of children are exposed to SHS in their homes. These children have an increased frequency of ear infections; acute respiratory illnesses and related hospital admissions during infancy; severe asthma and asthma-related problems; lower respiratory tract infections leading to 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually in children under 18 months; and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Higher intensity medical services are also required by children of parents who smoke including an increased need for intensive care unit services when admitted for flu, longer hospital stays; and more frequent use of breathing tubes during admissions.

NPM 14 Tools


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.