Secondhand smoke exposure of expectant mothers in china: Factoring in the role of culture in data collection

Zhaohui Su, Dean McDonnell, Jaffar Abbas, Lili Shi, Yuyang Cai, Ling Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Tobacco smoking, including secondhand smoking, causes cancer and is responsible for over 22% of global cancer deaths. The adverse impacts of secondhand smoke are more pronounced for expectant mothers, and can deteriorate both mothers' and infants' health and well-being. Research suggests that secondhand smoke significantly increases expectant mothers' risk of miscarriage, cancer, and other chronic disease conditions, and exposes their unborn babies to an increased likelihood of having life-long poor health. In China, a pregnant woman's family members, such as her husband, parents, or in-laws, are the most likely people to be smoking around her. Due to traditional Chinese cultural practices, even though some expectant mothers understand the harm of secondhand smoke, they may be reluctant to report their family members'smoking behaviors. Resulting in severe underreporting, this compromises health experts' ability to understand the severity of the issue. This paper proposes a novel approach to measure secondhand smoke exposure of pregnant women in the Chinese context. The proposed system could act as a stepping stone that inspires creative methods to help researchers more accurately measure secondhand smoking rates of expectant mothers in China. This, in turn, could help health experts better establish cancer control measures for expectant mothers and decrease their cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24984
JournalJMIR Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • "doing the month"
  • Behavior
  • Cancer
  • China
  • Culture
  • Expectant mothers
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant women
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Secondhand smoking
  • Smoking
  • Transitional Chinese culture
  • Women


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