New program to help pregnant women quit smoking

NORWICH – Chenango County Department of Health Nursing staff and their Health Educator were recently trained on how to implement the BABY & ME – Tobacco Free Program, a prenatal cessation program to reduce the burden of tobacco use and help improve birth outcomes in Chenango County. The evidenced-based program helps women quit smoking and stay quit after the baby is born.

Darlene Gramstad, Nursing Director at the Health Department, said, “We know the harm tobacco use causes to pregnant women and their unborn child. We also know that pregnant women are highly motivated to quit smoking. This program is research-based and proven to help our pregnant women quit smoking and not return to smoking after the baby is born. With the help of our Community Partners such as UHS-Chenango Memorial Hospital, WIC, and Headstart we will be able to give pregnant women in Chenango County the positive support they need to become smoke free.”

The program is being funded by the Chenango County Department of Health and will start on May 1, 2014. Program visits will be conducted out of the Health Department office located in the County Office Building at 5 Court Street, Norwich NY 13815 and at outreach sites, yet to be determined.

Laurie Adams, BABY & ME – Tobacco Free Program founder and Executive Director, provided the technical support and training to Chenango County Health Department and staff members to enroll women into the program. “Smoking during pregnancy is a known cause of premature births and underweight births” Chenango County Health Department is a perfect fit for implementing the program,” she states. “They provide services to a large amount of prenatal women and they support their patients’ quit attempts. They also work within the county with physicians, hospitals and health care providers who could refer patients into the program.”

Women who enroll in the program, quit smoking and stay quit after the baby is born, receive free diapers for 6 – 12 months. The program is in 11 states across the US and has helped thousands of women quit smoking and stay quit.

Adams said, “The researched program is an effective cessation method and we are thrilled to be working with Chenango County to offer the program to pregnant women in their community. The greatest gift a woman can give her baby is a tobacco-free pregnancy and a tobacco-free home. We look forward to seeing the success of the program in Chenango County.”

Adult smoking rates in NY State have reached an all-time low of 16 percent. Chenango County Tobacco Use During Pregnancy rates are at 35 percent, showing the need for more programs and cessation services to help county residents quit smoking. Smoking during pregnancy is known to have detrimental effect on the newborn such as cause birth defects, premature births, underweight babies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the health risks to the mother and baby.

Chenango County and the BABY & ME – Tobacco Free Program hopes to decrease Tobacco use during pregnancy by 5 percent in 2014 and by 10 percent by the end of 2015. For more information on referring women into the program or participating in the program contact Chenango County Department of Health’s Nursing Division at 337-1660. For more information about the nationwide BABY & ME – Tobacco Free Program go to

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