Fresno County Program Aims to Reduce Smoking During Pregnancy
Fresno County is hoping to "snuff out" smoking among pregnant women with a new advertising campaign, according to officials speaking at a meeting "celebrating the achievements" of Babies First, the county's infant mortality prevention program, the Fresno Bee reports. According to statistics, Babies First helped reduce the infant mortality rate in a high-risk area of Fresno by 55% between 1997 and 2000. The Bee reports that since the program began receiving federal funding in 1997, Babies First has helped more than 3,000 pregnant women with a range of issues, including finding transportation to doctor's appointments. Babies First officials estimate that 12.6% of all births in Fresno County are to women who use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; one of the program's main goals is to reduce such statistics. At the meeting, officials unveiled new public service announcements about the dangers of smoking and drinking during pregnancy. Connie Woodman, director of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health in the county Department of Community Health, said, "Tobacco is the number one cause of low birthweight. If we stopped women from smoking when they are pregnant, the number of low-birth weight babies would decline by 25%" (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 6/22).