It’s well known that smoking is bad for you – especially if you’re pregnant. Smoking affects not only a mother’s health, but also the health of her unborn child. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maternal smoking is associated with preterm birth and infant low birth weight. Babies born to women who smoke are at a greater risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and are more likely to have certain birth defects than babies born to nonsmokers. However, national and local rates are declining, perhaps in no small part to initiatives and interventions across the country.

In their latest community health status survey, Interact for Health, a foundation devoted to improving health and wellness in greater Cincinnati, found that the local smoking rate has declined from 35% to 25% over the past 14 years. While higher than the national average of 20%, Cincinnati and its surrounding regions have experienced a steeper decline in smoking than the nation as a whole.

This decline is encouraging, and so are these recent local and national initiatives:

  • On August 1st, New York City raised the legal age to buy cigarettes, tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21. By doing this, the health department hopes to reduce usage among minors while also updating the Smoke Free Air Act of 2002 to be current with today’s tobacco environment.
  • CVS made news last spring when it announced its decision to eliminate tobacco products from its stores. If you walk into a CVS today, you won’t find cigarettes. Instead, you’ll find smoking cessation information; some stores even offer the Start to Stop® cessation program. Also, in partnership with the American Cancer Society®, CVS is offering a toll-free support line, Quit For Life®.
  • The University System of Georgia, a network of 31 public colleges and universities in Georgia, became smokefree campuses in October. They join over 1,400 smokefree campuses across the country, including Miami University of Ohio, University of Toledo, and the Ohio State University Wexner Center College of Medicine.
  • On November 20, Kentucky state properties will become smoke-free, effectively banning the use of cigarettes, tobacco products, and e-cigarettes on all 2,888 state-owned campuses.

Now that these groups have kicked tobacco, the question remains: who’s next?

Do you want to quit smoking? Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free over-the-phone counseling support. If you are an expecting mom, sign up for SmokeFreeMom to receive advice and tips designed specifically for you. Simply text MOM to 2222888 or sign up online.