Perceived risks and reasons to smoke cigarettes during pregnancy among Alaska native women

Carrie Bronars, Christi Patten, Kathryn Koller, Dorothy Hatsukami, Christie A. Flanagan, Paul A. Decker, Andrew Hanson, Abbie Wolfe, Christine Hughes, Neal Benowitz, Neil J. Murphy, Timothy Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of the risks of smoking and reasons Alaska Native women give for smoking during pregnancy. Design: A total of 118 women (54 smokers, 64 non-smokers) enrolled in a biomarker study and completed a baseline interview asking about their concerns regarding tobacco use while pregnant and reasons why pregnant women might smoke during pregnancy. Responses were collapsed into six categories of perceived risks of smoking and eight categories of reasons to smoke during pregnancy. Results: The majority of both pregnant non-smokers and smokers (72.6% and 60.4%) agreed that smoking during pregnancy could negatively impact the health of their baby. However, non-smokers were more likely than smokers (77.4% vs. 58.5%) to view smoking during pregnancy as a risk factor for the baby’s development (p =.029). Both non-smokers and smokers identified addiction as a reason for smoking during pregnancy (82.8% and 63%); however, non-smokers were more likely than smokers to state this was a reason for use (p =.015). Seventy-three percent of the entire sample reported a reason to smoke in pregnancy was to help manage negative affect. Conclusion: Results from this work may be helpful in advancing research by identifying targets for intervention specific to Alaska Native women receiving prenatal care in Anchorage, Alaska.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018


  • Alaska Native
  • cigarette smoke
  • perceptions
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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