Why Smoking is Illegal for Pregnant Women
Over the years, smoking has been one of the factors which have significantly affected pregnant women in the United States. Although men lead in the rate of smoking, research has indicated that the number of women who have been using cigarettes in the recent years has been increasing and there is a possibility that the number may surpass that of men in the future (Crus and Mahshid 99). Smoking among pregnant women has contributed to the development of serious health risks including diseases and other infections which significantly impact smokers and their unborn babies. Because smoking among pregnant women has significant implications Congress should pass laws to ban smoking among pregnant women in the United States.
Although there exist some myths concerning the impact of smoking on pregnant women, recent studies have indicated that there is a close relationship between some of the complications experienced among pregnant women and cigarette smoking. For example, most of the studies have indicated that women who do not smoke in the United States have higher rates of delivering healthy babies than those who use cigarettes and other tobacco-related substances. This is a clear indication that smoking is dangerous for pregnant women and therefore the government should establish laws which make it illegal.
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One of the primary reasons why this ban should be implemented is that smoking during pregnancy is one of the risk factors of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (Crus and Mahshid 89). Although there is no clear cause of SIDS, research has indicated that the chemicals contained in cigarettes tar, nicotine, lead and carbon monoxide increases this risk and therefore it is advisable for pregnant women to avoid smoking during pregnancy. This means that although the government has been trying to come up with measures which can address SIDS, its strategies cannot be effective if smoking among pregnant women is not banned.
Another reason why the United States should ban smoking among pregnant women is that according to Crus and Mahshid (87), smoking increases the chances of preterm births. Research released by CDC (center for disease control) indicates that 1 of every 10 infants born in the United States are affected by being born before the pregnancy cycle is complete. These statistics show that smoking among pregnant women is a concern and therefore proper action needs to be taken. According to William, giving birth before the 9 months of pregnancy are complete makes the infant to develop lungs, liver and brain problems and this may increase the chances of death or disability (438).
Moreover, research has also indicated that delivering a baby before the pregnancy period is complete has various risks such as visual impairments, mental disabilities, hearing impairments, among others (Treena 136). Additionally, preterm birth has highly contributed to the increased medical expenses to cater for those who develop impairments and other related risks in this country. Also, smoking among pregnant women in the United States has led to increased cases of miscarriages (Treena 135). The reason that makes smoking to be a major contributor of miscarriages in this country is that during the first few days after conception, the fetus develops rapidly and becomes highly susceptible to genetic damage which is caused by chemicals contained in cigarette smoke. Due to the fact that there is no law which prohibits pregnant women from smoking in the United States, it is clear that the country will continue realizing increased cases of miscarriages if proper action is not taken to address the issue.
Although pregnant women in other states smoke, United States reports the higher number of women who use cigarettes and therefore there is a high need for the concerned stakeholders to establish measures which make smoking illegal for pregnant women (Crus and Mahshid 89). The major reason why taking such a decision is crucial is that it will aid in minimizing the chances of having babies with certain birth defects, like for instance, cleft lip or cleft palate.
It is also advisable for the U.S government to ban smoking among pregnant women in this country because research has indicated that the nicotine contained in cigarettes can also lead to severe complications in the fallopian tubes, which can, in turn, cause ectopic pregnancy. According to William, ectopic pregnancy refers to a situation where implantation of the embryo takes place outside the walls of the uterus, especially in the fallopian tubes. When this complication occurs, the growth of the embryo is relatively low due to the unfriendly conditions in the fallopian tube. In such a case, a surgery must be performed for the removal of the embryo to avoid other serious problems that may develop (439). According to medical practitioners smoking contributes to the increased issues of placenta complications in this country. Treena states, placenta complications arise when the placenta of the embryo and the uterus of the mother separate before a child is born. When this separation occurs, it becomes difficult for the embryo to receive nutrients and oxygen from the mother and this limits its chances for survival (135).
Reduced infant weight is also a challenge facing babies born to mothers who smoke. This condition seems to be higher in the United States because the rate of women who smoke is significantly higher compared to other countries. According to Treena, reduced infant weight is a condition where babies are born with abnormal low weights, which medical practitioner says may result due to the effect of chemicals contained in cigarettes. This condition may result in other health risks and disabilities and due to these risks the World Health Organization has been discouraging pregnant women from using cigarettes during their pregnancy period (132). Increased number of birth defects, such as heart problems and improper heart structure are caused by cigarette smoking and because these problems parents incur the costs of taking their children for medical services from time to time.
It is also important for the government to ban smoking among pregnant women because it has been termed as a major contributor to the causes of cot deaths. Although other states have similar problems, research has indicated that a large number of similar incidences reported in the United States are attributed to unregulated smoking among pregnant women. Manoj, affirms that as time goes on, smoking seems to become a culture in the U.S and this poses a risk to pregnant mothers because it increases the chances of losing their babies after birth. One of the primary factors that increase the chances of cot deaths for babies born to women who smoke is that the chemicals contained in cigarettes weaken the immune system of a baby during pregnancy, hence increasing the risks of developing various types of illnesses after birth (80).
The increased rate of smoking among pregnant women in this country has also contributed to the increased cases of learning disabilities and growth challenges (William 439). One of the impacts of learning disabilities in the United States is that it makes the government spend a lot of money in providing special education to children who have this problem. Additionally, it makes some of the children to fail in utilizing some of the opportunities due to disabilities.
Researchers have also affirmed that the nicotine contained in cigarettes can also contribute to the development of blood circulation challenges. According to Manoj (79), this problem results due to the accumulation of harmful substances in arteries and other blood vessels which in turn reduces the level of oxygen and nutrients circulated into the body of the mother and embryo. The low circulation of blood and oxygen is harmful because it can lead to arteriosclerosis and other life-threatening conditions.
From this discussion, there are various reasons that should make smoking among pregnant women in the United States to be illegal. One of the reasons is that it has made the country to experience higher maternal, perinatal and neonatal rates as compared to other states. Smoking among women in this country has also led to increased rates of premature deaths among children, disabilities, miscarriages, among others. Although other states have women who smoke, the impact of using cigarettes among pregnant women seems to be higher in the united states than other countries due to the fact that smoking seems to have become a culture and most of the women do not consider the implications of using this substance during pregnancy. For the government to decrease the implications of smoking among pregnant mothers, the government must criminalize smoking among these people and educate them concerning the dangers of using cigarettes and other tobacco-related products.