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Advocates of raising cigarette tax say it would cut percentage of pregnant women who smoke; Ky. leads nation in that behavior

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Advocates of raising cigarette tax say it would cut percentage of pregnant women who smoke; Ky. leads nation in that behavior Advocates of raising cigarette tax say it would cut percentage of pregnant women who smoke; Ky. leads nation in that behavior

Advocates of raising cigarette tax say it would cut percentage of pregnant women who smoke; Ky. leads nation in that behavior

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The best way to help pregnant women in Kentucky stop smoking is to increase the cigarette tax by $1, to $1.60. That was the main message at the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow's Jan. 23 rally at the state Capitol.

Ben Chandler, chair of the coalition and the president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, told the small crowd that such an increase would result in nearly 6,000 fewer smoking-affected pregnancies and births over the next five years in the Commonwealth.

"Think of that: more than 1,000 Kentucky babies every year who are healthier because they were not exposed to the toxins in cigarettes while they grew and developed in the womb," Chandler said.

He added that Kentucky has the highest rate of smoking during pregnancy in the nation, with more than one in five pregnant women in the state smoking cigarettes at some time during their pregnancy. The national rate is 8 percent. That rate is even higher in 35 counties, 30 percent. And in four counties -- Clay, Jackson, Lee and Owsley -- it exceeds 41 percent.

Misti Williams tells how she quit smoking during her pregnancy
at a Coalition for a Smokefree Tomorrow rally. (Coalition photo)Misti Williams, pregnant with her fifth child, said she smoked during her previous pregnancies, but decided she would quit when she learned of her current pregnancy. Her baby is due in a few weeks and she said she hasn't smoked since July.

"I want something radically different for this child," she said after the rally.

The 31-year-old Lexington woman attributed her success to her participation in a smoking-cessation program, which offered both counseling and an alternative list of activities to do when she had the urge to smoke. She said she uses that list as her screen-saver on her cell phone.

Williams talked about how hard it was to quit, but said every day she didn't smoke was a victory and she wants to encourage other pregnant women to keep trying, even if they relapse.

"I want to help other women who don't think it's possible," she said after the rally.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, a variety of birth defects and even infant death, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chandler also pointed out that pregnant smokers are also a budget issue because of the added expense incurred by the state to care for many of these infants, noting that women who smoke during pregnancy are two and a half times more likely to be on Medicaid.
women.smokefree.govAmanda Fallin-Bennett, a tobacco-control researcher in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, said that while access to tobacco-cessation treatment is important for women who want to quit smoking during pregnancy, raising the cigarette tax by at least $1 would be more effective.

"Research shows that the most effective way to reduce smoking is raising the ...
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Advocates of raising cigarette tax say it would cut percentage of pregnant women who smoke; Ky. leads nation in that behavior Advocates of raising cigarette tax say it would cut percentage of pregnant women who smoke; Ky. leads nation in that behavior


Source of news: Kentucky Health News
Source of publication: 27-01-2018 16:03
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