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Government Reiterates Warning on Drinking, Smoking While Pregnant

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- We've all heard the warnings: Don't smoke or drink alcohol while pregnant.  Yet, more than one in five pregnant white women smoke cigarettes, according to a new report from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Dr. H. Westley Clark, director of the agency’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, says the warnings need to be repeated with each new generation.

"If it isn't reasserted, it tends to be forgotten.  And then, we have to deal with the medical consequences of low birth-weight babies or babies who are born with other problems associated with substances that their parents use," Clark says.

Among the report's findings, according to Clark:

-- Pregnant white women were more likely than pregnant black women to have smoked cigarettes in the past month.

-- Pregnant black and white women were more likely than pregnant Hispanic women to have used alcohol, in the past month.

-- Pregnant black women were more likely than pregnant white and Hispanic women to have used an illicit drug in the past month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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