By Joseph Knoop
A new anti-smoking program is aiming to help new mothers kick the habit or avoid it altogether. Hamilton County WIC, Partnership for Healthy Hamilton County and Healthy Communities of Clinton County are partnering to provide the recently-launched Baby & Me Tobacco Free program.
Program goals are divided into multiple components, including a commitment to become a non-smoker while pregnant and after delivery, attendance at four prenatal smoking cessation classes, which includes information on Indiana’s Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QuitNow), and passing a breathing test for up to 12 months after the baby is born. Program participants will receive monthly installments of $25 in diaper vouchers redeemable at CVS Pharmacy or Walmart. Women who deliver twins or multiples are eligible for vouchers in the same amount for each child.
According to the Indiana State Dept. of Health, pregnant smokers are more than twice as likely to deliver a low birth weight baby and up to 50 percent more likely to have a miscarriage. Approximately 17.1 percent of women in Indiana smoked while pregnant in 2010.
“The average person (makes) at least seven attempts to quit smoking, so having these cessation programs is really important,” said Holly Wheeler, assistant director of Partnership for Healthy Hamilton County. “We’re really hoping to incentivize moms to participate while they’re pregnant and to keep it up afterwards so that that becomes a behavior they continue for the rest of their lives.”
The BMTF program is also available to other residents and caregivers to whom the mother and baby will be exposed to before and after delivery, including spouses, caregivers or grandparents. Classes will be held the firstTuesday of the month at 10:30 a.m. and the thirdTuesday of the month at 1 p.m. at the WIC office in the Hamilton Co. Service Center, 942 N. 10th Street, Noblesville. Individuals with questions or looking to register can call 765-659-6063.