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1 in 5 White Women Have Smoked While Pregnant

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- One in five white women have smoked cigarettes while pregnant, according to a new government study released Thursday.

The report, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, showed that 21.8 percent of pregnant white women ages 15 to 44 had smoked a cigarette within 30 days of when the survey was conducted.

Those numbers contrasted with 14.2 percent of black women and 6.5 percent of Hispanic women of the same age.

“When pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a statement. “Pregnant women of different races and ethnicities may have diverse patterns of substance abuse. It is essential that we use the findings from this report to develop better ways of getting this key message out to every segment of our community so that no woman or child is endangered by substance use and abuse.”

The rate of alcohol use during pregnancy among black and white women was about the same: 12.8 percent and 12.2 percent respectively. Only about 7.4 percent of Hispanic women reported drinking alcohol while pregnant.

Black pregnant women were more likely to use illegal drugs than white and Hispanic pregnant women: about 7.7 percent of blacks, 4.4 percent of whites and 3.1 percent of Hispanics reported using drugs at least once in 30 days prior to the survey.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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