Marie Tarrant is Director of UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing. (UBCO photo)

Smoking can affect breastfeeding habits: study

Exposure to household smoke shortens duration

  • Aug. 4, 2018 7:30 a.m.

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.”

Related: Cigarette packs with graphic images, blunt warning are effective: focus groups

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.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rio Tinto donates $50K for Shames Mountain chairlift upgrades

The money was used to purchase the chairlift’s bull wheel replacement last summer

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

Cullen remains uncertain about political future

Says he’ll make decision in early March

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Terrace resident’s bill banning single-use plastics introduced in Ottawa

MP Nathan Cullen’s presented Ben Korving’s private member’s bill Wednesday

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read