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Vermonters are healthy

% of pregnant women who abstain from smoking cigarettes


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Story Behind the Curve

Last Updated: July 2015

Author: Division of Maternal and Child Health, Vermont Department of Health

The most recent available data shows that 82% of Vermont women who had a baby in 2013 (preliminary) abstained from smoking during pregnancy.This is well below the HP2020 2007 baseline of 89.6% and the HP 2020 goal of 98.6%. Considerable disparities based on socio-economic status remain, with women in lower socio-economic categories having, on average, higher rates of smoking prior to pregnancy and lower quit rates during pregnancy.While the trend on this curve is in a positive direction, the rate of improvement is very slow.

Policy factors influencing the curve include policies that have an impact on smoking rates in the general population, especially those that decrease smoking initiation among young women. For information on these policies, see the Tobacco Use Dashboard.

Policy factors that have an impact on smoking cessation during pregnancy include:

  • Removal of cost barriers for cessation services during pregnancy
  • Additional resources for pregnant women through 802Quits

Efforts undertaken to address smoking cessation in pregnancy

  • 2013-2015 –Tobacco and WIC programs collaborate through training, technical assistance, and data sharing to improve smoking cessation referrals for pregnant smokers
  • 2013-2015 – Tobacco program provides trainings and presentations with external stakeholders to promote cessation counseling and referral skills to 802Quits for women of child bearing age and pregnant smokers
  • 2014-2015 – District Office Agency Improvement Model project to increase the number of pregnant women referred to smoking cessation who enroll in cessation services
  • 2014-2015 – Tobacco program airs CDC Tips ad related to dangers of smoking while pregnant, web banner ads promoting the new 802Quits pregnancy page, and supporting printed materials for stakeholders who work with women of child bearing age including pregnant smokers
  • National Jewish Health for Quitline and Quit Online services through the Tobacco Program
  • Department of Vermont Health Access
  • Quit Partners – collaboration between Blueprint and VDH and the tobacco cessation specialists serving communities across the state,
What Works

The CDC recommends the following individual strategies to address smoking in pregnancy:

  • Pregnancy-specific counseling by health care providers, based on the 5-A model
  • Nicotine replacement therapies, under close supervision by a health care provider
  • Quitline counseling
  • Provider reminders, documentation of smoking status and cessation interventions

Population-based interventions that decrease smoking prevalence in the general population also reduce smoking among pregnant women.These strategies include:

  • Increasing the price of tobacco products by increasing the tax on cigarettes
  • Clean indoor air policies and legislation banning smoking in workplaces and other areas
  • Expanded Medicaid/health insurance coverage of tobacco-cessation services and products

MCH programs and partners continue to implement and support CDC recommended strategies.

  • Home visitors and Health Department staff who work with pregnant women screen women and refer to appropriate cessation resources at each contact
  • A pilot project in two District offices will use computers for WIC staff to facilitate WIC clients 'self-referral' and encourage smokers to enroll in 802Quits cessation services during or immediately following WIC program visits to increase referrals

Similar to statewide efforts, local partners are using data to drive local strategy. For regional data on Maternal and Infant Health indicators, check out our Public Health Data Explorer.

Why Is This Important?

Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than nonsmokers to have an ectopic pregnancy, vaginal bleeding, placental abruption, placenta previa or stillbirth.Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to be of low birthweight or born prematurely, increasing their risk of serious health problems.

This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.

Notes on Methodology

Data is updated as it becomes available and timing may vary by data source. For more information about this indicator, click here.

Analysis of data from birth records has a long lag time, making it somewhat difficult to measure the impact of interventions on a year to year basis.

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