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Prevalence of smoking and smokeless tobacco use during breastfeeding: A cross-sectional secondary data analysis based on 0.32 million sample women in 78 low-income and middle-income countries
Authors: Prashant Kumar Singh Lucky Singh Fernando C. Wehrmeister Nishikant Singh Chandan Kumar Ankur Singh Dhirendra N. Sinha Zulfiqar A. Bhutta Shalini Singh
Source: EClinicalMedicine, DOI:
Topic(s): Breastfeeding
Tobacco use
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: NOV 2022
Abstract: Background: Smoking and smokeless tobacco use during the postpartum period is well studied in high-income countries, whereas low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) lack evidence. Methods: In this cross-sectional study we used data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) conducted in 78 LMICs between January 2010 and December 2019 to study tobacco use among 0.32 million sample lactating women. Age-standardized prevalence of smoking and smokeless tobacco use was estimated and presented with a 95% Confidence Interval (CI) for 78 LMICs. Pooled estimates overall and by WHO regions were obtained using random-effects meta-analyses. Country-level and community-level variance to understand contextual factors was also quantified using multilevel modelling. Findings: Pooled prevalence of any tobacco use among breastfeeding women in LMICs was 3.61% (95% CI 3.53–3.70); with the lowest prevalence in regions of the Americas (1.44%, 1.26–1.63) and the highest in the Southeast Asia region (6.13%, 6.0–6.27). The pooled prevalence of tobacco smoking was reported to be 1.16% (1.11–1.21), with the highest prevalence in the Eastern Mediterranean region (4.27%, 3.88–4.67) and the lowest in the African region (0.81%, 0.76–0.86). The pooled prevalence of smokeless tobacco use was reported to be 2.56% (2.49–2.63), with the highest prevalence in the Southeast Asia region (4.92%, 4.80–5.04). Illiterate and poor women in LMICs bore the enormous burden of tobacco use. Interpretation: The prevalence of smoking and smokeless tobacco use among lactating women in LMICs varied considerably across different WHO regions. Considering the cross-sectional design of the study, caution is required while interpreting the results. To improve mothers' and children's health and nutrition outcomes and reduce health inequalities in LMICs, reducing tobacco use through evidence-based interventions is critical.