Community Effort Supports Tobacco Free Babies

Community Partners met on July 24 for a BABY & ME — Tobacco Free Program™ training and update. Laurie Adams, BABY & ME — Tobacco Free Program’s founder and Executive Director, provided the group training via WebEx. During the training Laurie stressed, “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 stated. “They provide services to 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.” Ms. Adams states, “This 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 program is available to all expectant moms regardless of their income level.

Chenango County statistics report that in 2014 there were 404 births with 135 pregnant moms (33.5%)  who smoked during and after delivery. In May, 2014 the Nursing Division of Chenango County Department of Health, in partnership with UHS – Chenango Memorial Hospital, launched its BABY & ME — Tobacco Free Program. The Nationally recognized program encourages pregnant women to quit smoking during and after their pregnancy, thus promoting healthy babies, healthy homes, and a healthy community. Successful completion of the program which includes face to face counselling, encouragement, and education, results with the mom receiving vouchers for free diapers until the baby is six months old.  The goal is to quit smoking, and stay quit during pregnancy, delivery, and thereafter. Our partners for patient referral in this endeavor include CMH Women’s Health Center, CMH Maternity unit, UHS Primary Care-Sidney, WIC, Family Planning, Dept. of Social Services, Head Start and the Health Care Providers in the county.

The program reached its one year anniversary in May, 2015. To date, 55 women were referred, with 22 women enrolled (40% of referrals).  9 of those 22 enrolled were lost to follow up. The remaining 13 women are in varying stages of the program.  2 participants have “graduated” and remain smoke free. The other 11 participants remain on track to successfully finish the program. With their successful completion, it is anticipated the percentage of women smoking during pregnancy will decrease by 10% for 2015.

This is what participants have to say about the program:

Testimonial One

  • “I enjoyed the support I received from the staff.”
  • “I feel healthier now than when I smoked”
  • “I had beautiful full term health baby”
  • “When I look at my baby I think of smoking differently than I did prior to becoming pregnant”
  • “I plan on a bright future raising a healthy baby”

Testimonial Two

  • “I learned a lot about smoking and cigarettes I did not previously know and won’t smoke again.”

In January, 2015 the Health Department expanded the program by including the pregnant mother’s support partner in the stay quit program.  If the significant other participates in the program and both mom and this partner quit smoking and stay quit, the family will receive 2 vouchers per month for free diapers.

For further information or to enroll in the BABY & ME — Tobacco Free Program, call the Chenango County Department of Health Nursing Division at (607) 337 – 1660.