New incentives help pregnant women stop smoking

Pregnancy can be a strong incentive to stop smoking.

Very few women are likely unaware of the dangers of smoking while pregnant and the potential harm to their developing babies.

Along with obstetricians and pediatricians, organizations including the American Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn about nicotine. Its use is associated with issues ranging from birth defects to premature delivery to asthma or ear infections in infants.

Two area agencies take the incentive a step further, offering pregnant women the opportunity to earn some cash as they work to break their habit.

“Healthy Choices, Healthy Children: Smoke Free Moms” is a new program emphasizing both support and financial rewards for women trying to quit.

The new campaign, managed by Tobacco Free Southwest, a program of Adagio Health, is in addition to an existing program offered through the PA Free Quitline, a state Department of Health agency.

The Quitline program offers women who register for the free coaching program to qualify for up to $65, $5 per telephone coaching session.

While supplies last, Tobacco Free Southwest is offering an additional incentive, $50 gift cards, to pregnant women who complete the smoking cessation program.

The program is available in 10 Southwestern Pennsylvania counties, including Allegheny, Beaver, Westmoreland, Fayette, Somerset and Washington.

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The Southwestern Regional Tobacco Coalition is a multi-county effort created to address the diverse issue of tobacco use in the southwestern health district of Pennsylvania.

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