K21 Health Foundation issues grant to smoking cessation program

Although research has proven that smoking is harmful to a baby’s health, both before and after birth, in Kosciusko County 14.3% of pregnant women continue to smoke during their pregnancies. Studies have shown smoking increases the risk of preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birthweight, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In an effort to provide help to these expectant mothers quit smoking and lessen the risks to their babies, the Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition offers the Baby & Me program.

Baby & Me is an evidence-based smoking cessation program that was created to help pregnant women stop smoking through counseling support and other resources. Since the Coalition launched Baby & Me in Kosciusko County in July of 2017, 12 women have participated in the program and successfully quit smoking. A K21 grant of $12,034 will help the Coalition to continue to provide this important program.

“Smoking and other tobacco use is the number one preventable killer in our country, and both Indiana and more specifically Kosciusko County are smoking at a higher rate than our national average. Although we’ve seen use decrease in recent years, this continues to be a major health issue in our community,” said Rich Haddad, K21 President & CEO. “As an organization dedicated to improving health in Kosciusko County, K21 recognizes a responsibility to make sure that resources are available for pregnant women who want to quit smoking but need help to do so.”

“Baby & Me is a four-session, incentive-based program that provides vouchers for expectant moms who successfully meet the goal of quitting smoking,” said Heidi Blake, director of the Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition. “If women are smoke-free by the third or fourth sessions, they can receive vouchers redeemable for diapers. And if they continue to remain smoke-free after delivery, they will receive additional vouchers for the next twelve months.”