A new smoking cessation initiative in rural Indiana helps moms quit to improve their health and the health of their babies.
Indiana University researchers and rural healthcare providers are working together to encourage pregnant women to quit smoking with a two-year study in partnership with the IU Center for Rural Engagement.
Jon Macy, an associate professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, is examining financial incentive as a method to reduce smoking by pregnant women in southern Indiana. The study focuses on pregnant women because of pregnancy’s clear timeline and smoking’s elevated health risk to pregnant women. “We have an unacceptably high rate of smoking during pregnancy in Indiana,” Macy says.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, 11.8 percent of pregnant women in Indiana were smokers in 2018, more than double the national average of 5.6 percent in the same year. But that number is a significant drop from 18.5 percent in 2007, thanks to the many efforts by groups throughout Indiana to help people quit.
The study is being conducted in partnership with Southern Indiana Community Health Care (SICHC). Donna Charles, a licensed practical nurse, heads what they call the “You Can Do It” smoking cessation project. Charles says personal experience with smoking during college helps her in this role. “It was either smoke or eat everything in sight while studying,” she says. She quit smoking after graduating, but picked it back up during a stressful period later in her life. But, she managed to quit again. “It was not easy to quit this time, but I did, cold turkey.”