Tobacco and cannabis exposure during pregnancy in six race/ethnic subgroups in California

Project Timeline: 9/16/19 through 9/15/22

It is well-known that women who smoke while pregnant can face pregnancy complications and their children can have lasting health problems. We are now learning that smoking during pregnancy may also affect the health of grandchildren, possibly by changing hereditary characteristics that are passed down. Although smoking rates have declined, many women currently giving birth in California have mothers who smoked while they were pregnant. This study will help us learn whether health problems in future generations are related to smoking while pregnant and whether black and white mothers and children are affected in the same way.


In collaboration with the California Department of Public Health, this study will analyze 235,000 birth records and blood samples linked across two generations, from 1982 to 2013 for varying levels of nicotine and marijuana metabolites. An equal number of samples from pregnant women living in the Central Valley and Southern California will be analyzed from six ethnic groups: Native Americans, African Americans, Samoans, Vietnamese, Whites, and Hispanics/Latinas. By project completion, our community engagement team will have identified and meet with stakeholders and representatives representing each of the study groups. Our team will continuously inform stakeholders about study progress and interim findings as well as engage them to assess findings and help our team develop public health messages and/or policy recommendations.