When Quitting Means Winning:
North Carolina Women and Smoking
Nov. 17th marks the American Cancer Society's
29th annual Great American Smokeout - a stepping
stone for many in the battle to quit smoking.
Recently, the state of North Carolina took a significant
step of its own by launching the NC Quitline
(1-800-QUIT-NOW), providing support and resources for North Carolinians
looking to stop smoking.
According to the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
System survey by the North Carolina State Center for
Health Statistics, nearly 20 percent of North Carolina
women label themselves smokers. The rate among women
of childbearing age (18-44) is even higher at 22 percent.
What does this mean? More than a fifth of our female
population has an increased risk of developing health
complications related to tobacco use, including heart
and lung disease and various forms of cancer. It also
means that a significant number of women are smokers
when they become pregnant.
Although pregnancy motivates many women to quit, studies
indicate that 13 percent of pregnant women smoke, sharing
tobacco-related health risks with their unborn and
newborn children. Exposing a developing fetus to tobacco
smoke has been linked to adverse birth outcomes including
low birthweight births, birth defects and death - contributing
to the state's already increased infant mortality
and morbidity rates.
Just as alarming, 20 percent of women smoke after
giving birth which can increase the presence of secondhand
smoke on parent's clothing and in the baby's
sleeping environment, both of which increase the risk
of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Secondhand smoke can
also contribute to many health problems in young children
including bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and
Providing a free, easy to access smoking cessation
resource is critical in helping to improve the health
of all of North Carolina. Funded by the NC Health and
Wellness Trust Fund and the NC Tobacco Prevention & Control
Branch (DHHS), the NC Quitline is toll-free and bilingual.
Quitting specialists are available from 8:00 a.m. to
midnight, seven days a week providing answers to questions,
access to smoking cessation materials and on-going
Click below to view and order educational materials
related to smoking cessation and secondhand smoke.
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