Lung Association Partners with Local Community Organizations in Colorado
New initiative supported by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation offers proven-effective tobacco cessation services to help low-income women and pregnant women in Colorado quit
(March 31, 2016) - DENVER
Smoking is known to be a health threat to women, pregnant women and developing fetuses, and for those expectant mothers who are trying to successfully quit smoking. More opportunities and promotion to support quitting smoking will be available in Colorado. With support from the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, the American Lung Association in Colorado will be partnering with local community organizations to provide better access to proven-effective tobacco cessation services to help low income women and pregnant women who smoke quit for good.
“For both a healthy mom and a healthy child, it's best to quit smoking before pregnancy. But even if already pregnant, quitting can still help protect from potentially serious health problems,” said Bob Doyle, Director of Lung Health for the American Lung Association in Colorado. “Quitting may be difficult but is especially urgent for expectant mothers. We’re proud to partner with the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and local organizations who serve as trusted resources in these communities to offer expectant mothers better access to proven-effective quit smoking methods.”
Through this partnership, the American Lung Association in Colorado will be working with local community organizations and government agencies to provide and promote free or low-cost quit smoking counseling and support, such as Freedom From Smoking®. The Lung Association’s quit smoking program has helped over one million smokers quit and is offered in-person, online and by phone; it also includes content on building a quit plan, medications that can aid quitting smoking, lifestyle changes that support quitting smoking, how to manage stress and how to overcome relapse and become smokefree for good.
“The most effective way to protect babies and mothers from neonatal and maternal health risks is to ensure mothers quit smoking during their pregnancy and stay smoke free. But despite a pregnancy, we know that quitting smoking can be difficult,” said Mike Ramseier, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “We look forward to our partnership with the American Lung Association to provide pregnant women with access to resources and support to help them quit smoking and encourage them to continue a healthy, smoke free lifestyle once their babies are born.
Smoking while pregnant poses risks to both mother and child, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including low birth weight, damage to the placenta, pre-term deliveries and heightened risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In fact, Colorado has one of the highest low birth weight rates in the nation at 9 percent. And according to state data, 19.8 percent of women in Colorado report smoking during the last three months of pregnancy, and 19.8 percent of Colorado women report smoking during the 3 months before pregnancy.
While smoking during pregnancy is dangerous, continuing to smoke after the baby is born is also dangerous for the child. According to the CDC, babies who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to die from SIDS, have weaker lungs than other babies and are more likely to have infections and breathing problems.
To learn more about how to quit smoking, call the Lung Association’s toll-free Lung Helpline 1-800-LUNGUSA, or learn more about Freedom From Smoking® at Lung.org/ffs. For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and proven effective methods to quit smoking, contact the American Lung Association at BDoyle@Lungs.org or 303-847-0267.
About the American Lung Association in Colorado
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit the newly redesigned website: Lung.org.
About LUNG FORCE
LUNG FORCE is a new national movement led by the American Lung Association to unite women against lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women. LUNG FORCE has three priorities: 1) Make lung cancer a cause that people care about – and act on; 2) Educate and empower patients and healthcare providers and 3) Raise critical funds for lung cancer research. The American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE is nationally presented by CVS Health. Find out more at LUNGFORCE.org.