New Program Aims To Decrease Pregnant Smokers

By: Shawn Magrath

NORWICH – In its ongoing effort to reduce the number of women who smoke during pregnancy, the Chenango County Department of Public Health is teaming up with the Baby and Me Tobacco Free Program to provide an education incentive for pregnant women to stop smoking.

According to the Chenango Health Department, three out of five women in Chenango County smoke during pregnancy which greatly increases the risk of birth defects and the likelihood of dangerous health conditions for newborns.

But the hope is to put a stop to that, said Chenango DOH Director of Patient Services Darlene Gramstad, and reduce those numbers to zero.

“Looking at our numbers, our 2012 statistics show that Chenango County was among the highest in the state for women who smoke – 35 percent in the county while it’s only 8.5 percent statewide,” said Gramstad. “We have identified that there is a great need for education and outreach on this issue in Chenango County. We want the emphasis to be on preventing chronic diseases, starting with the unborn child and then working with mom to keep her from smoking again.”

To assist in the effort, Gramstad and her colleagues are working closely with Baby and Me, a national health program devised to encourage and empower women to quit smoking during pregnancy and refrain from tobacco use even after giving birth. Gramstad said the goal is to reach as many women as possible through this new initiative.

“The real emphasis these days is on use of evidence based programs,” she said, noting that Baby and Me has the data and research to support its methods.



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