Flexibility Leads to Success…Helping Pregnant Smokers Quit
The American Lung Association partnered with the Virginia Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and the West Virginia UniCare Foundation to provide Freedom From Smoking Clinics to pregnant smokers in Southwest Virginia and Southeast West Virginia. These mostly rural communities are challenged by high unemployment and extreme poverty. Substance abuse is a major challenge in each of these communities. In some areas the number of pregnant smokers exceeds 50 percent. Our initial plan was to train Freedom From Smoking Facilitators who would conduct clinics for pregnant smokers. Through community cultivation, we learned that our goal of clinics as the only approach would not be the optimum way to serve our target audience.
Thanks to the flexibility of our supporting foundations, we improvised and offered the Freedom From Smoking Self-Help Manuals to smokers and their family members to help them quit.
Their health department case managers would call, visit or text the smokers each week to answer questions and serve as cheerleaders. Thanks to the collaborations within each community we significantly surpassed our goal and helped change the health outcomes of the residents.