The Kentucky Department for Public Health (“DPH”) and University of Kentucky have a program to help reduce the number of pregnant women who smoke during pregnancy. The program called, Giving Infants and Families Tobacco-Free Starts (“GIFTS”), enrolled over 500 women in its nine-county pilot area in eastern Kentucky, helping many give up smoking during their pregnancies. About 26.7 percent of Kentucky’s pregnant women smoke, which is more than twice the national average.
The four primary barriers that keep pregnant women smoking are: depression, social support, domestic violence and secondhand smoke exposure. GIFTS program participants receive a variety of resources and supportive materials including:
- Quit Line referrals to the Kentucky Tobacco Quit Line, 1 800 QUIT NOW, a free, telephone-based counseling service.
- “Need Help Putting Out That Cigarette” booklet.
- carbon monoxide monitoring.
- social support
- domestic violence screening and referrals
- referrals for smoking cessation for household members
- ongoing support by counseling and educational materials
- various incentives such as water bottles filled with items such as hard candy and gum; baby bibs featuring the GIFTS logo; and
- $10 baby delivery gifts like photo albums or diapers.
Women who smoke during pregnancy increase the risk that their infants will suffer from
- low birth weight,
- intrauterine growth retardation,
- various respiratory diseases, and
- infant mortality.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for and exacerbates several pregnancy complications such as premature rupture of the membranes, infections, placenta previa and placental abruption, all of which are associated with preterm birth.
The Surgeon General’s report also found a causal relationship between maternal smoking and ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and fetal growth retardation.