Hamilton County WIC to Host BABY & ME – Tobacco Free Classes

Noblesville, Indiana – Hamilton County Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Partnership for a Healthy Hamilton County (PHHC) and Healthy Communities of Clinton County (HCCC) have partnered to offer BABY & ME — Tobacco Free Program™, a program funded by the Indiana State Department of Health to assist pregnant women in smoking cessation. Participants who complete four classes, quit smoking during pregnancy and remain smoke-free are eligible for $25 in diaper vouchers for up to 12 months postpartum. They do not have to be WIC clients to participate.

“We are excited about this opportunity to assist pregnant women who smoke and their unborn babies,” said Sharon Barrett, director of Indiana Health Centers Hamilton County WIC program. “Smoking while pregnant increases the likelihood of low birth weight, preterm delivery and decreased respiratory function. This program fits with WIC’s mission to help women deliver healthy babies by educating them about proper nutrition and self-care, and to keep their babies healthy after delivery by offering breastfeeding classes and checkups.”

Components of the BABY & ME — Tobacco Free Program are a commitment to become a non-smoker while pregnant and after delivery, program enrollment, attendance at four prenatal smoking cessation classes which include education about Indiana’s Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QuitNow, and passing a breath test for up to 12 months after the baby is born. Successful participants receive $25 in diaper vouchers monthly, which are redeemable at CVS Pharmacy or Walmart. Women who deliver twins or multiples are eligible for vouchers in the same amount for each child. Classes are held the first Tuesday of the month, 11:00 a.m., and the third Tuesday of the month, 1 p.m., at the WIC office in the Hamilton County Service Center, 942 North 10th Street, Noblesville, 46060. Classroom space was donated by owner and landlord Senator Luke Kenley. Those with questions or who are interested in registering can call 765-659-6063.

The classes came to Hamilton County through a partnership between HCCC and PHHC. Both counties hold ISDH Tobacco Prevention & Cessation grant funding, which promotes Indiana’s Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QuitNow. HCCC also has grant funding for BABY & ME — Tobacco Free Program and is encouraged to share the program with surrounding counties.

“As counties we share the same goals of smoking cessation and Quitline promotion, and offering BMTF furthers both of those goals in a targeted, high-risk group,” said Kathy Martin, tobacco prevention and cessation coordinator and BMTF facilitator for HCCC, who will teach the classes. “We want all babies to be born healthy and on time and are happy to collaborate in order to do so.”

“BMTF broadens PHHC’s reach in a critical component of its tobacco prevention and cessation program by offering cessation services to a population in which smoking endangers not just one,but two, people,”said Holly Wheeler, assistant director, PHHC, and interim tobacco prevention and cessation coordinator for the county. “It’s all about decreasing smoking rates, and helping pregnant moms do so just makes sense. WIC was a natural choice for collaboration because of its commitment to keeping pregnant mothers healthy and because of the relationships it builds with its clients.”

The BMTF program is available to other residents and caregivers to whom the mother and baby will be exposed before and after delivery. The child’s father or other regular caregiver, such as a grandparent, who complete BMTF classes, quit smoking and pass monthly breath tests, also are eligible for monthly $25 diaper vouchers.

All BMTF participants are encouraged to use Indiana’s free, phone-based tobacco cessation service, 1-800-QuitNow. service, 1-800-QuitNow. Further information about the service can be found at www.indianaquitline.net.

Healthy Communities of Clinton County began the BMTF program in October 2014 and received the full grant funding for a two year term starting June 2015. Currently, HCCC has more than 50 women enrolled in the program and is striving to reach as many pregnant women as possible. For more information about HCCC or the BMTF program call 765-659-6063 or visit wwww.healthyclintoncounty.org.