Partner smoking: the missing link in pregnancy smoking cessation programmes (Spain)

smoking spain

A Spanish study of 463 pregnant women has shown that a partner smoking is the strongest predictor of a pregnant woman not giving up smoking during pregnancy and is a major cause of exposure of pregnant women to passive smoking. The researchers conclude that smoking cessation programmes should engage partners. In contrast, an earlier 15-country European study of factors affecting smoking cessation during pregnancy did not even consider partner influence.

The study, carried out in rural and urban areas in Andalusia in southern Spain, looked at mostly Spanish women, with secondary school or university education, average age 31. The women were interviewed three times during pregnancy – at 13 weeks (first maternity appointment), around 24 weeks and at 32 weeks.

The rate of smoking among Spanish women is higher than the European average (36% compared to 28%), though fewer Spanish women smoke than 10 years ago.

During pregnancy, two thirds of the women quitted smoking, with the percentage total who smoked dropping from 36% to 12%. Those who continued, smoked less – the average before pregnancy was 8.7/day, but during the pregnancy this average dropped to 6.0/day.

But the partners did not give up in nearly such large numbers. 36% were smoking before pregnancy and 32% still were at the end, and these did not cut down on the amount they smoked.

This is cause for concern in two ways. First because of the link between partner smoking and pregnant women not quitting. Also, women with smoking partners are far more likely to be exposed to passive smoking – 65% of the women with smoking partners reported exposure to passive smoking.

The researchers refer to research by Kate Fleming and others two years earlier, investigating the barriers to smoking cessation faced by fathers. This study is a starting point for developing programmes to promote partner smoking cessation.


Román-Gálvez R, Amezcua-Prieto C, Olmedo-Requena R, Lewis-Mikhael Saad AM, Martínez-Galiano JM & Bueno-Cavanillas A (2017), Partner smoking influences whether mothers quit smoking during pregnancy: a prospective cohort study, Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Photo: ~zipporah~. Creative Commons.