In underserved areas like North Philadelphia, existing research shows a nearly 10 percent higher smoking rate than in the general population, with a lower quit rate to boot. The consequences of this public health problem are magnified for new mothers that smoke, as they also expose their babies to the ill effects of second-hand smoke.
Brad Collins, an assistant professor of public health at the College of Health Professions and Social Work, has been testing ways to improve smoking treatments in underserved populations for several years, and in previous research found that 40 percent of new moms in North Philadelphia were either currently smoking or had smoked late into their pregnancies.
"The high rates of postpartum smoking we found in North and West Philadelphia are consistent with other low-income, urban communities across the country. It's alarming when considering the consequences children bear," he said.
Second-hand smoke can lead to a host of problems for young children, including a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, and lung or ear infections.
Behavioral interventions can help improve quit rates; however, Collins says areas like North Philadelphia suffer some unique barriers in regard to this type of treatment.
"High participant drop out rates, challenges maintaining contact with individuals that may not have phone service, or who live in crime-ridden areas, low existing levels of health knowledge and similar challenges do make it difficult to implement such a program," he said. "But these challenges should motivate intervention researchers to find creative ways to tailor and implement evidence-based prevention and health care."
It was that motivation that drove Collins and his team directly into the community, going door to door to provide intensive, yet tailored smoking cessation treatments to new mothers who needed them the most.
The project, called Philadelphia F
|Contact: Renee Cree|