Women smoking cigarettes while they are pregnant is one of the biggest reasons we have such a high number of infant deaths in our community.
The Coalition’s Response
The Coalition responded to these startling statistics by creating the “Smoking & Babies Just Don’t Mix” campaign. This community education and advocacy campaign was designed to raise awareness of the dangers that smoking and second-hand smoke bring to mothers and babies. It also offers residents a way to take action for a healthier environment for our babies and all people in our community.
The Coalition brought the “2 ½ pounds, ½ a pack a day” message to people throughout Winston-Salem in 2003. We purchased billboards and advertisements on city buses, ran radio ads, and put up posters all over town. The ads were concentrated in African American neighborhoods for two reasons. First, a higher percentage of African American women in our community smoke when they are pregnant than do whites. Second, African American babies die here at 2 to 3 times the rate of white babies.
The contact phone number on the billboards and in the posters is for the Breath of Fresh Air program at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. This highly-effective telephone program pairs women up with a nurse who can counsel them and support them as they try to quit smoking.
The Forsyth County Infant Mortality Reduction Coalition is a community partnership housed within the Forsyth County Department of Public Health.
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