“Baby & Me Tobacco-Free” program launched in the Upstate

UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the March of Dimes are launching a program to help pregnant tobacco users quit smoking and using other tobacco products.

“Baby & Me Tobacco Free” is a grant-funded, research-based program to help pregnant women quit using tobacco throughout the prenatal period and beyond, said Timothy Watts, Laurens County program coordinator.

The program will be offered in Cherokee, Laurens, Oconee, and Union Counties.

Pregnant women who enroll will receive counseling support and resources to help them quit smoking.

The participants will agree to Carbon Monoxide monitoring to make sure they are not smoking or using tobacco products.

“Enrolled participants who successfully quit and stay tobacco-free are eligible for free diapers while pregnant and up to 12 months following the birth of their baby,” said Laurie Adams, program executive director and creator.

10.9% of moms in S.C. reported smoking during their pregnancy in 2013. 19% started smoking again after the baby was born.

Cherokee, Laurens, Oconee, and Union counties have the highest rates of smoking or tobacco use during pregnancy in the state.

“Tobacco use during pregnancy is a known cause of birth defects, premature births, underweight babies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),” says Breana Lipscomb, director of maternal child health at the March of Dimes.

The program hopes to enroll at least 300 women by the end of their first year.

The “Baby & Me Tobacco Free” program is in 15 states nationwide and has enrolled more than 7,000 women.

For more information and how to enroll, contact Timothy Watts at (864) 518-0124 or wattstp@dhec.sc.gov.

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