Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Melody Noland


Smoking during pregnancy remains a significant public health issue despite knowledge about the adverse maternal and fetal health effects. This research had six purposes: identifying effective smoking cessation strategies for low income pregnant women; identifying characteristics of Kentucky women who smoke during pregnancy; estimating the role of smoking on birth outcomes in Kentucky; exploring the impact of tobacco reduction on birth outcomes; identifying the characteristics of women participating in the Giving Infants and Families Tobacco-free Starts (GIFTS) pilot program; and evaluating the impact of GIFTS on smoking status and birth outcomes.

Seven randomized controlled trials targeting low income women with smoking cessation interventions identified social support and incentives as promising strategies. Only one study focused on women living in rural settings. Live birth certificate data from 2004-2008 revealed that 26% of Kentucky women reported smoking during pregnancy. Continuing to smoke approximately doubled the odds for low birth weight (LBW) [Estimated Odds Ratio 1.95 (95% Confidence Interval 1.87-2.03)] and no breastfeeding initiation (NBI) [1.93 (1.87-1.98)] versus no pre-pregnancy smoking. Continuers also had higher odds for preterm birth (PTB) [1.25 (1.20-1.29)] and neonatal intensive care unit admissions (NICU) [1.20 (1.14-1.26)]. Reducers and quitters had increased odds of LBW and NBI. The probability of quitting relative to the probability of continuing was increased for women aged less than 25, non-White, Hispanic, graduate degree, obese and "other" payor source for the delivery.

The GIFTS program targeted pregnant women receiving local health department services who reported recent or current tobacco use. Significantly increased odds of participation were identified for women reporting 1-5 [2.05 (1.06-3.94) ], 6-10 [2.06 (1.10-3.83)] and ≥11 [2.17 (1.12-4.20)] cigarettes per day compared to those reporting no cigarettes. Women with one [1.55 (1.07-2.24)] or two [1.83 (1.21-2.76)] previous quit attempts also had increased odds for participation compared to those with no quit attempts. GIFTS participants were significantly less likely to have preterm infants (p=.0369) than a matched comparison group. No significant differences were found on tobacco cessation, tobacco reduction or cessation, LBW, NICU, or NBI. This research has implications for future cessation efforts as well as policy development.