5 States Where Pregnant Women Still Smoke Cigarettes

Smoking is a major no-no for pregnant women. Not only is smoking a bad habit, smoking becomes even worse during pregnancy. But a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows women in America still smoke while pregnant. Discover which states have the highest concentrations of pregnant women who smoke, ahead.

Risks for pregnant women who smoke


The risk for complications during pregnancy can increase. | Dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images

The risk of complications during pregnancy can increase when a woman smokes cigarettes. “Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage,” according to the CDC. Smoking while pregnant can cause low birth weights and birth defects in newborns.

Hint: Are e-cigarettes healthier?

What about e-cigarettes? Are they safer to use?


E-cigarettes aren’t much safer. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

E-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which “can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs,” according to the CDC. For pregnant women, the safest route to take is not smoking at all. Learn about the support group every pregnant woman gets when she quits smoking on page 15.

Hint: Exactly how many women smoke while pregnant? Find out, next.

How many women smoke while pregnant

Pregnant Woman Smoking Cigarette

This still happens. | Highwaystarz-Photography/Getty Images

1 in 14 women smoke while pregnant, according to a study from the CDC. But certain states in America have higher concentrations than others. See which state has the highest amount of pregnant women who smoke cigarettes, next.

Hint: This state has the most women who smoke while pregnant.

No. 5: Missouri

Springfield Missouri

Missouri | WorldExotc21/iStock/Getty Images

In the state of Missouri, approximately 15.3 percent of women smoke cigarettes while pregnant. According to the CDC’s study, reasons for this may stem from education (page 9). The lack of education about the effects of smoking in pregnant women is common throughout all five of the states where the most pregnant women smoke cigarettes.

Hint: A very small state has a big problem.

No. 4: Vermont

Montpelier, Vermont Skyline

Vermont | SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images

Thinking of Vermont typically brings up images of changing leaves and hiking. Besides getting lots of tourists in the winter months, Vermont has a problem with pregnant women smoking. 15.5 percent of the women in Vermont smoke while pregnant.

Hint: The opposite of Vermont in size, this state has the same problem.

No. 3: Montana

Helena, MT

Montana | Visit Helena Montana via Facebook

The only state in the West to have a high percentage of pregnant women who smoke is Montana. 16.5 percent of women in Montana smoke while pregnant, according to the study. Again, this may be due to a lack of awareness. Expecting mothers simply don’t know the harmful effects.

Hint: This state has second highest concentration of mothers-to-be who smoke cigarettes.

No. 2: Kentucky

Kentucky residents have to be extra prepared for travel.

Kentucky | iStock/Getty Images

Second to West Virginia is Kentucky. “West Virginia and Kentucky have always had one of the highest prevalence of smoking, and it’s consistent,” Dr. Haywood Brown, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Duke University School of Medicine, told CNN.

Hint: This state has the most women who smoke while pregnant.

West Virginia takes No. 1 spot

Huntington West virginia sunset

This state has the highest number of pregnant smokers. | Albert Tibbs/iStock/Getty Images

Based on the results of the study, West Virginia has the highest number of women who smoke while pregnant. Approximately 25.1% of women in West Virginia smoke during pregnancy. Discover what education has to do with West Virginia’s results, next.

Hint: Education plays a major role.

Education is a key factor

pregnant suffering from a cold

Many don’t realize how bad it is. | Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images 

The study “suggests that education may have a large impact on cigarette smoking during pregnancy,” Dr. Jennifer Wu, an ob-gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told CBS. “Women who are older and more educated are less likely to smoke during their pregnancy.”

Hint: One expert suggests awareness targeting women likely to smoke during pregnancy.

Awareness will help women quit smoking

No smoking sign inside the room in the hotel

Could it be an awareness issues? | Tatomm/iStock.com/Getty Images 

“This study indicates that women of certain age groups, ethnicity, and educational background are more likely to smoke during pregnancy,” Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York, told CBS. “Anti-tobacco educational media campaigns targeting these populations may help bring more awareness to the importance of quitting during pregnancy and remaining quit after delivery.”

Hint: Women with this educational background, less likely to smoke.

More educated, less likely to smoke while pregnant

pretty african american female graduate

Education has a lot to do with it. | michaeljung/Getty Images

“Women with a bachelor’s degree or higher had a prevalence of smoking during pregnancy of 1 percent or less,” according to the study. Among women with a high school diploma and higher, the prevalence of smoking decreased, demonstrating the relationship between smoking and education.

Hint: Women with this level of education, likely to smoke while pregnant.

High school educated women likely to smoke

School classroom

This statistic is shocking. | maroke/iStock/Getty Images

Among women with a high school diploma or GED, smoking during pregnancy was highest, at 12.2 percent. Women with less than a high school diploma followed close behind at 11.7 percent and women with an associate’s degree or some college experience totaled 7.9 percent.

Hint: Women in this age group are most likely to smoke while pregnant.

Women in their 20s are the most likely to smoke

Pensive red-haired girl in bikini smoking on beach

Young women are likely to develop this habit. | iStock.com/kiko_jimenez

According to the study, women in their 20s smoke the most during pregnancy. Specifically, pregnant women ages 20-24 smoke the most, at 10.7 percent. Not far behind are women ages 15-19 at with 8.5 percent smoking while pregnant.


Hint: Not many pregnant women smoke cigarettes in this state.

Women who smoke the least while pregnant live here

Gilbert Arizona

Arizona women may be a little healthier. | FastGlassPhotos/iStock/Getty Images

Less than 5 percent of women in Arizona report smoking cigarettes while pregnant. Additional states with less than 5 percent include California, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Texas, and Utah.

Hint: Doctors visits provide support to quit.

Pregnancy provides a  support system to quit

Woman in lab coat

This may be the best time for women to stop smoking. | Julief514/iStock/Getty Images

Multiple visits to a doctor during pregnancy provides “a lot more support [sic] during pregnancy than at any other time that somebody might want to stop smoking, and there’s a lot of motivation,” Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, professor and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, told CNN.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

Read more: 10 Cancer Risk Factors That Will Totally Surprise You