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March 28, 2016

'Smoke Free For My Baby and Me' Program Marks Successful First Year

OSWEGO COUNTY - Nearly three-quarters of the women who participated in the "Smoke Free for My Baby and Me" program were able to quit smoking, the Oswego County County Health Department reported today. The project, which was implemented last May, is a partnership among several community agencies. Initial findings reveal a 73 percent success rate among participants to quit smoking.

"The success of this program shows the power of collaboration in our community," said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. "People came together from various private, non-profit and government agencies to develop a plan that reduces tobacco use in Oswego County. They created it from scratch, applied for grant money to support it, and the results are even better than were originally expected."

He added, "This is a good example of a 'can-do' community. If we all work together, we can make Oswego County a healthier place to live, work, study and play."

Community partners across the county are working together to reduce adult smoking and obesity and to find ways to improve the health and well-being of Oswego County residents. Partners in the Smoke Free for MY Baby and Me program include the Oswego Health Department, Oswego OB/GYN, Reach CNY, Oswego Health, Oswego County Opportunities OPTIONS (Teen Parenting Program), Rural Health Network, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Services, Integrated Community Planning's Tobacco Free Network.

"Obesity and smoking are associated with lung cancer, diabetes, and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases," said Huang. "They are detrimental factors in the treatment of chronic disease and the leading causes of preventable death in the United States."

The group developed a Community Health Improvement Plan which included the "Smoke Free for My Baby and Me" proposal, aimed at reducing smoking rates among pregnant women through clinic-based best practices, peer support, monitoring and incentives.

"The percentage of women in Oswego County who smoke during pregnancy is high for our region," said Linda Eagan, program administrator. "In particular, we found that a distressing 42 percent of pregnant women on Medicaid are smokers."

She continued, "Pregnancy is an excellent window of opportunity for women to stop smoking, and research has found that many do attempt to stop or cut down during their pregnancy. Maintaining this behavior is critical to the health of both mother and baby, yet it is also demonstrably difficult as typically only 12 percent remain smoke-free through their pregnancy and to their first post-partum doctor's visit."

The group conducted more than a year of research to determine the most effective quit strategies which included incentives, supports and clinical interventions and monitoring. With grant funding and other community sponsorships, they launched the program and began tracking its progress. Now, a year later, they are reporting an extraordinary success.

The Tobacco Cessation Center at St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse was instrumental in providing training and SUNY Oswego collaborated with the group to conduct research and analysis of the program.

The group received funding through a grant from the New York State Health Foundation. Additional support came from the Child Care and Development Council of Oswego County, the Elks Lodge Foundation, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Fidelis Care, and Rural Health Network of Oswego County.

If you or someone you know is interested in quitting smoking, call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit www.nysmokefree.com.

For more information about the "Smoke Free for My Baby and Me" program, call the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547, Oswego OB/GYN at 343-2590, or OCO OPTIONS at 342-7532.

YOU CAN DO IT! - Jessica Jorgensen-Howard receives a supply of diapers for her baby from Amber Shumway of Oswego County Opportunities after her regular check-in. Jessica is one of more than 30 women who have volunteered to participate in an innovative new program, "Smoke Free for My Baby and Me." This initiative is aimed at reducing smoking rates among pregnant women through clinic-based best practices, peer support, monitoring and incentives such as free diapers.

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