(WKBN) — A relatively new program at the Trumbull County Combined Health District is providing incentives to help pregnant women quit smoking. The Baby & Me – Tobacco Free Program is offering diaper vouchers for pregnant women to encourage them to quit smoking.

The Baby & Me Tobacco Free program provides vouchers for free diapers and wipes for women who quit smoking while pregnant and stay tobacco-free for a year after the baby’s born.

Those enrolled in the program are tested twice after quitting before the baby’s born, and monthly for 12 months after birth. If the women stay tobacco-free, they could receive up to $350 in vouchers.

Partners can also earn up to $300 in diaper vouchers if they go through the program and stop using tobacco too.

Public Health Nurse Tomi Cardinale says babies whose mothers smoke typically have a low birth weight and are born early. It also can impact a child’s lung development.

“It’ll carry into the years into school for many years and they can have asthma they can get sick and miss a lot of school they’re the first you know to get sick when the seasons change so it’s important,” Cardinale said.

Through a series of face-to-face counseling sessions, women and their families are given the tools and support needed to make a successful quit attempt and are rewarded in the form of a diaper voucher for their success.

Research has shown that incentives, such as diapers, are a unique and positive motivator to aid in behavior change. Research shows that encouraging pregnant women to quit smoking is vital to ensuring the best birth outcomes.

Smoking during pregnancy can lead to low birth weights in infants and premature birth. In the
longer term, maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with a range of poor outcomes in
children including ADHD and cognitive dysfunction.

Many pregnant women who smoke are consumed by guilt and wish they could quit,” said Laurie Adams, president and founder of the program. “We offer a way for these women to realize their dream of being free from the grip of tobacco addiction, at a time when it matters most to not only their health, but the health of their unborn children.”

Cardinale says they’d like to have 22 women or more enrolled in the program. Currently, there are only three.

If you’d like to sign up, reach out to the Trumbull County Combined Health District at 330-675-2489, option 3. For more information, visit the program’s website.