Erie Vital Signs

Health Behaviors and Disease Prevention: Non-smoking Pregnancies

Recent Performance

This trend is better or improving.

The high number of pregnant women who smoke in Erie County is a serious concern. In addition to the risks smoking poses to their own health, such as cancer and heart disease, it jeopardizes the health of their babies.

Since 2007, the percentage of Erie County live births to non-smoking mothers during pregnancy has climbed from 71.6% in 2007 to 78.1% in 2012. The 78.1% in 2012 marked a historic high for the county. Despite this favorable trend, there is room for improvement as Pennsylvania consistently outperforms the county for this indicator.

Note: Much of the data for the Health Indicators come from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey. Each metro area decides whether or not to participate each year, so these indicators often do not have data for every year for every metro area. As a result, the graphs show markers (dots, diamonds, etc.) for the individual years rather than lines. If there are data for consecutive years, the markers will be joined with a line on the graphs.

The Basics

This indicator reports the percentage of live births to mothers who were non-smokers during pregnancy.

Why is this important?

According to the Centers for Disease Contro, most people know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other major health problems. Smoking during pregnancy causes additional health problems, including premature birth (being born too early), certain birth defects, and infant death.

* Smoking makes it harder for a woman to get pregnant.
* Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage.
* Smoking can cause problems with the placenta - the source of the baby's food and oxygen during pregnancy. For example, the placenta can separate from the womb too early, causing bleeding, which is dangerous to the mother and baby.
* Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early or to have low birth weight—making it more likely the baby will be sick and have to stay in the hospital longer. A few babies may even die.
* Smoking during and after pregnancy is a risk factor of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is an infant death for which a cause of the death cannot be found.
* Babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have certain birth defects, like a cleft lip or cleft palate.

The Details

“The Basics” tells the story.

The Nitty-Gritty Details


This EVS indicator reports subcategories based on race/ethnicity with the following breakdowns: All races, White, Black, and Hispanic (of any race).

Peer Areas

The data are available for Erie County and the state of Pennsylvania.


There are annual updates of this EVS indicator as well as three-year summary updates in Erie County Department of Health reports.


Other Related Data

content management, website design, e-commerce and web development services in Erie, Pennsylvania