HEALTH

Washington state helps pregant women to quit smoking for Mother’s Day

BY Michael Johnsen

OLYMPIA, Wash. Washington’s state Department of Health has added new services to its free Tobacco Quit Line to provide pregnant women with more help when they’re ready to quit using tobacco in preparation for Mother’s Day, the agency announced Thursday.

The new tools include quit materials and extra follow-up calls specifically to help pregnant women increase their chances of quitting and remaining tobacco-free after the baby is born. Quit coaches have received additional training to better understand the challenges pregnant women face when trying to quit smoking.

In Washington, more than 8,700 babies are born each year to women who smoke during their pregnancy, the agency reported.

“Quitting smoking is a Mother’s Day gift that a pregnant woman can give to herself and her baby,” stated Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “Babies with moms who smoke are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and have health problems like ear infections and pneumonia. These new resources will make a real difference in the health of pregnant women and their babies.”

Washington’s maternal smoking rate has remained stagnant over the last several years. In 2006, about 12 percent of pregnant women reported smoking during the last three months of their pregnancy. Some groups continue to have higher than average rates, particularly young women (18 percent of those less than 25 years old), women receiving Medicaid benefits (17 percent) and American Indian women (23 percent). More than 40 percent of women who quit smoking during pregnancy start again within months after giving birth.

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GSK applauds updated PHS guidlines for quitting smoking

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on Wednesday released a statement commending the updated 2008 U.S. Public Health Service Guideline on Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence.

“Too many smokers lower their chances of quitting by relying on cold turkey approaches to become tobacco-free,” GSK stated. “The Guideline is an important validation of the need for clinicians to recommend the use of effective tobacco dependence counseling and medication [and] reflects considerable progress in tobacco cessation research over the past decade to help identify the most effective strategies at reducing tobacco dependence.”

The updated guideline reflects the distillation of thousands of research articles, and continues to recommend nicotine replacement products as a first-line therapy for quitting, as they “increase significantly rates of long-term smoking abstinence.”

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Study suggests link between vitamin D deficiency and depression

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO According to a study published in the May edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry, depression has been linked to a vitamin D deficiency in older adults.

The Netherlands study examined 1,282 community residents between the ages of 65 years and 95 years.

Levels of vitamin D were 14 percent lower in 169 persons with minor depression, as well as in 26 persons with major depressive order.

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