SAN DIEGO COUNTY: Launches Anti-Smoking Drive for Pregnant Women, Young Families
Three competing hospital systems are coming together to implement a "major" anti-smoking campaign in San Diego County for pregnant women and families with young children. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that obstetricians with Scripps, Sharp HealthCare and Children's Hospital will survey pregnant patients to find out who smokes and help those who do to quit, with pediatricians following up after the baby is born. About half the babies in the county are delivered at Scripps and Sharp hospitals. The program, Partnership for Smoke-free Families, will also provide free telephone counseling to pregnant women until six months after they have given birth through the state-funded California Smokers Helpline, which has a 26% success rate in getting clients to quit for at least one year. The three health systems are each contributing $150,000 yearly to the program for "materials, development of pregnancy-specific counseling methods and staff time to persuade doctors to make it a priority." Dr. Jack Schneider, medical director of Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women, said this "'elevates smoking to a much greater emphasis' in obstetricians' discussions with patients." Nationwide, about 20% of all pregnant women are smokers, and "at least that many have another smoker in the household." In San Diego County, that translates to 8,000 babies who are born to smokers (Duerksen, 6/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.