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Study Pins Premature Births to Pregnant Smokers

July 15, 1962 - Preliminary findings show that premature births occur more frequently among mothers who smoke than among nonsmokers. This was one of the results of a long-range study being coordinated by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, a research arm of the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Richard L. Masland, director of the Institute, said that the results “are preliminary findings of continuing research and therefore should be viewed with caution.” The Public Health Service announcement said the findings “confirm the results of previous studies which have shown a relationship between cigarette smoking during pregnancy and prematurity.” Birth weight was found to be inversely proportional to the amount of smoking — the greater the smoking, the lower the weight at birth.

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