Public Release: 

Quitting smoking during pregnancy: Beneficial for both mother and child

University of Montreal

The results of a study conducted by Dr. Anick Bérard, Professor and Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé Research Chair on Medications and Pregnancy, at the University of Montreal's Faculty of Pharmacy and the Ste-Justine University Hospital demonstrate that the use of nicotine patches or the drug Zyban has positive effects for the unborn child and allows pregnant women to stop smoking during and after pregnancy.

The results of the study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, indicate that in 80% of cases, women who used nicotine patches or the drug Zyban successively quit smoking. Even after stopping the use of these products, 60% of Zyban users and 68% of women using nicotine patches did not restart smoking during or after pregnancy.

"In public health terms, these results are significant because one in five pregnant women smokes. We already know that smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of miscarriage as well as low birth weight, premature birth, and birth defects - events that are linked to health problems in children. The results we are publishing today will give pregnant women evidence-based options to quit smoking, but will also give data to health care professionals for them to prescribe the right treatment while evaluating the risks and benefits associated with each pharmacological method," said Dr. Bérard, principal investigator of the study.

Furthermore, the results indicate that the use of nicotine patches reduces the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.

"We already knew that quitting smoking during pregnancy was beneficial for mothers and children in the short and long term, but, to our knowledge, this study is one of a few to compare the effects of using nicotine patches and the drug Zyban during pregnancy on smoking cessation and the risks to the fetus. Our results are directly in-line with smoking cessation programs implemented in the general population," said Bérard.


The study was funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS) and the Canadian Cancer Society.

Article reference:

Bérard, A., Zhao, J. P., and Sheehy, O. "Success of smoking cessation interventions during pregnancy," American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, July 8, 2016.

About the University of Montreal

Deeply rooted in Montreal and dedicated to its international mission, the University of Montreal (UdeM) is one of the top 100 universities in the world. It was found in 1878, and together with its two affiliated schools, HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal, constitutes the largest centre of higher education and research in Quebec and one of the major centres in North America. The University of Montreal brings together 2,600 professors and researchers and welcomes more than 66,000 students.

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