Are you pregnant and still using tobacco products? The new corona virus attacks the lungs, making it more difficult for people who smoke or vape to fight the virus. There has never been a better time to stop. One of the best changes you can make for your health and that of your baby is to stop smoking now.
In Vermont, 15% of women smoke during their pregnancy in 2018, twice the national rate (7%). More women smoke during pregnancy in Rutland County (21%) compared to Vermont. Smoking during pregnancy can cause complications including miscarriage and premature birth. Smokers may also be more susceptible to COVID-19 because the act of smoking means that the fingers (and the possibility of contaminated cigarettes) come in contact with the lips which increases the chance of hand-to-mouth transmission of the virus. There is also increasing evidence that people who smoke are more severely affected by COVID-19.
Quitting smoking is difficult. Research at the University of Vermont’s Behavior and Health Center has found that providing financial incentives to pregnant women (eg, vouchers, gift cards) to stop smoking is effective in helping them stay tobacco-free during and after pregnancy. Because smoking costs $ 348 million for Vermont’s annual medical costs, using financial incentives to help pregnant women stop smoking makes sense.
How can incentives prove successful? Pregnant women in Chittenden and nearby districts receive vouchers worth $ 6.25 after they stop smoking (verified with urine or saliva samples). Vouchers increase in value for each consecutive negative sample up to a maximum of $ 45, which continues for up to 12 weeks after birth. Participants can get up to $ 1,115.
In four studies, women who received incentives were more successful in quitting smoking. Among those who received incentives, 34% had stopped smoking by the end of their pregnancy, compared with only 7% of women in the control group.
Women who stop smoking give birth to babies with a higher birth weight, and a longer gestational age at delivery (almost one week) which helps mothers and babies. Other benefits include prolonged breastfeeding and fewer symptoms of postpartum depression.
As a result of the success of the UVM research, Healthcare and WIC Rutland Women, with the Vermont Department of Health, are working together to offer similar research to help pregnant women who currently smoke or evaporate and are ready to quit. With only 11 slots left, women can register until June 10.
To register, women must be at least 18 years old and be pregnant for less than 25 weeks.
After registering, the woman receives a $ 15 gift card and helps set a stop date.
Along with personal support, women can get gift cards and baby gear as soon as they stop smoking.
The program involves a brief weekly check-in with a health care professional during pregnancy and for three months after giving birth – all following social distance guidelines.
Contact a nurse at Rutland Women’s Healthcare (747-3677) or WIC (786-5104) for more information and to register now.
If you don’t live in the Burlington or Rutland area, 802Quits offers a nationwide telephone-based program to support women who are pregnant and help them adjust their travel stops to meet their needs. Pregnant and postpartum women who want to quit smoking, including e-cigarettes, will have special trainers, up to 10 training sessions, and gift cards sent to them after completing each counseling session (benefits up to $ 65). Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can use stopped drugs with the approval of their doctor too. Call 1-800 QUIT-NOW.
Stopping is difficult. You can do it. Because we all work to stay healthy and safe during this coronavirus pandemic, there is a lot at stake for the health of you and your baby. Quitting tobacco helps build your body’s natural ability to fight infections including COVID-19. There is more help than before. Contact us and we can help you get started.
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