Local groups concerned about families and health are launching a new program to help expectant mothers stop smoking.
Johnson County WIC and the Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County received a $35,000 grant from the Indiana State Department of Health to run a one-year program called Baby and Me Tobacco Free, which aims to help and incentivize pregnant women to quit smoking before giving birth. Women who take part in the program, which includes pre-birth counseling and monthly tests for a year to ensure the mother isn’t using tobacco products, will receive up to $325 to spend on diapers and baby wipes.
From 2011 to 2015, the percentage of Johnson County women who smoked while they were pregnant dropped from 18 percent to 14 percent, according to data from the Indiana State Department of Health.
“We are trying to reduce the smoking rates in our community, and it is proven that if you start early on in pregnancy and keep them off, they are likely to stay smoke-free,” said Tracy Smith, the coordinator for Johnson County WIC.
A 2016 study on the Baby and Me Tobacco Free program in Tennessee found that more than two-thirds of the women who took part in the program quit smoking, according to Allysa Houle, the director of health services for Baby and Me.
Women can join the program anytime while they are pregnant, so long as they join early enough to attend four counseling sessions before their child is born, Smith said. Women who smoked up to three months before they became pregnant and women who are still smoking while pregnant are eligible for the program, she said.
At the third session, women will take a breath test to determine if they have stopped smoking. If they pass the test, they will receive a $25 voucher that can be used to purchase diapers or baby wipes. Once their child is born, they’ll take the test every month for a year and will be given another $25 voucher after each successful test, Smith said.
If another person in the household, such as a parent, spouse or caregiver, also is a smoker, they can participate in the program as well and will also receive the vouchers, Smith said.
If at least 35 people are enrolled in the program through the first year, the grant will be extended and a second year of $35,000 in funding will be provided, she said.
The grant covers the cost of the vouchers, testing equipment, counseling materials, training and marketing for the program, Smith said. Health care providers in the county will be given referral forms to connect women with the program, though anyone who is interested can contact the Johnson County WIC office directly, she said.
Here’s a look at the percent of women in Johnson County and other parts of central Indiana who smoked during their pregnancy:
Source: Indiana State Department of Health
Interested in taking part in the Baby and Me Tobacco Free Program? Here’s how you can get in touch to schedule an initial appointment:
Organization: Johnson County WIC
Address: 660 Ironwood Drive, Suite 1, Franklin