Health departments offer incentive for expectant mothers to quit smoking

SmokingThe Herald-Dispatch | (View the original story)
Jan 4, 2017 Updated Jan 4, 2017

CHARLESTON — Pregnant women in Kanawha and Putnam counties who use tobacco products now have an added incentive to quit.

Baby & Me Tobacco Free is a smoking cessation program created to reduce the burden of tobacco use on pregnant women and newborn mothers and children. An expectant mother who participates in the program and remains smoke-free following her baby’s birth receives a $25 monthly voucher for the first six to 12 months of the child’s life. The vouchers can be used to purchase diapers at Walmart.

According to statistics from the Bureau for Public Health, there were 2,063 births in Kanawha County in 2015. Of that number, 475 mothers used tobacco products — about 24 percent. In Putnam County during the same period, there were 594 births. Eighty of the mothers — about 14 percent — used tobacco products. Both counties are above the national average of 10 percent of expectant mothers who use tobacco products.

Classes are held every Monday from 1-3 p.m. at the Kanawha County WIC offices located at 4188 Washington St., West, in Charleston. Classes are held on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 1-3 p.m. at the Putnam County WIC offices at Putnam Village Shopping Center in Teays Valley.

Pregnant women who quit smoking are less likely to have premature and low-birth-rate babies. Maintaining smoking cessation after a baby is born also extends the positive health outcome for the mother and her family by reducing the damaging effects of secondhand smoke.

For information on joining the program, contact Tina Ramirez, director of prevention and wellness, at 304-348-6493.

This program is being sponsored by UniCare Health Plan, West Virginia’s largest provider of Medicaid managed care benefits, but is not limited to UniCare members. Any expectant mother who is interested in participating is welcome to join.

The Herald-Dispatch | (View the original story)