Smoking May Cause Cleft Lips and Palates


Cleft Lip Prevention

Did you know that July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is using the month to warn about the dangers associated with smoking and the formation of cleft palates and cleft lips.

While the organization admits that all causes of cleft lips and palates are not known at this time, it points to a 2014 Surgeon General’s Report which confirms that smoking in early pregnancy can cause orofacial clefts in babies.

According to recent research, 6% of orofacial clefts in the United States are caused by smoking during early pregnancy. If parents stopped smoking before and during pregnancy, that would mean 400 fewer babies in the United States would be born with cleft lips or palates.

Because cleft lips and palates require numerous surgeries to repair, the savings to parents and taxpayers would be approximately $40 million per year.


The CDC warns that cleft palate and lips are only two of numerous problems that typically occur from smoking. Other dangers for mother and child include premature birth, certain birth defects, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrom (SIDS), among others.


Smoking Can Cause Clefts:
Prevention of orofacial clefts caused by smoking: Implications of the Surgeon General’s report:

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Prevent Clefts Caused by Smoking:


Written by James Johnson

James Johnson is a writer, editor, husband, and father.

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