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State Launches New Campaign to Help Pregnant Smokers Go Tobacco-Free
Date:6/22/2009

Pilot program kicks off in Northwestern PA

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an effort to educate pregnant smokers about the harms of tobacco use on their unborn babies, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Northwestern Pennsylvania (NWPA) Tobacco Control Program are launching a new smoking cessation campaign to target the 28 percent of pregnant women who smoke in that region of the state.

"More than one-quarter of expectant mothers in Northwestern Pennsylvania smoke cigarettes," said state Secretary of Health Everette James. "There are serious harms to both mother and child that can occur from tobacco use. We also understand that quitting takes practice. This campaign is geared to provide the necessary support and resources expectant mothers need to help them be successful in their quit attempts -- giving their unborn babies the best chance possible for a healthy start to life. The goal of this program is not only to help these women go tobacco free during pregnancy but for their entire life."

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who smoke during pregnancy are twice as likely to have health complications that may cause pre-term labor. In fact, babies born to smokers are 30 percent more likely to be born prematurely and/or with lower birth weights, increasing their risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

The pilot program will be overseen by the NWPA Tobacco Control Program, which provides direct services to individuals in the region. In addition to promoting the program and sharing resources available to pregnant smokers through regional media, the campaign also includes informational convenience store posters and radio advertisements encouraging listeners to use the PA Free Quitline, 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or by visiting www.DeterminedToQuit.com for cessation information and support.

The NWPA Tobacco Control Program regularly offers services to pregnant women in their attempts to quit using tobacco. All services are offered free of charge and include support for family members seeking cessation support.

The Department of Health's tobacco efforts are intended to help individuals to quit -- or never start -- using tobacco products, and to curb the retail sale of tobacco to minors.

Under a state law that took effect last September, smoking is now prohibited in most public places and workplaces across Pennsylvania.

For more cessation resource information, visit www.DeterminedToQuit.com or call 1-800-QUIT NOW.

    CONTACT:
    Brandi Hunter-Davenport
    (717) 787-1783

    Kelly Kidd, NWPA Tobacco Control Program
    (814) 451-7855


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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