Volusia has highest rate in state of pregnant smokers

Volusia County has a higher rate of mothers who smoke during pregnancy than Florida. according to a special report released by the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County (DOH-Volusia).

The report analyzes the distribution and prevalence of smoking and pregnancy and compares rates from 2011 through 2015.

“Every child should make it to their first birthday,” said Patricia Boswell, DOH-Volusia administrator. “Unfortunately Volusia’s infant mortality rate is increasing. We’re looking at all aspects to help every child live a long happy life. Smoking is one of the factors that can place a baby at risk.”

Problems for babies
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking during pregnancy can cause premature birth, birth defects and infant death. Babies born to smoking mothers have an increased risk of developing respiratory problems and lower birth rates.

Data collected from Volusia underlines those risks. Volusia’s pregnant smokers gave birth to more low birth weight babies than non-smokers. Perhaps the most telling statistic showed the likelihood of positive birth weight outcomes rises the sooner mothers quit smoking during pregnancy.

Data demonstrates that 17 percent of babies born to pregnant women who continued to smoke gave birth to underweight babies while nearly all of those who quit in the first trimester had normal birth weight babies.

By zip codesThe report also compares the rates of women who smoke during pregnancy by age, race and geography, Boswell added.

For example, women age 25-34 demonstrated the highest rates of smoking during pregnancy. The rate of White mothers who smoked was nearly double the rate of all non-White mothers.

The highest rate of babies born to smoking mothers was seen in zip code 32759 in Southeast Volusia County. Three zip codes on Northwest Volusia County – 32190, 32130 and 32101, reported no mothers smoking.

The report does not examine cause and effect relationships. The health department prepares these types of health reports for use by community partners who serve various populations or address health risks. Reports also help to raise awareness among the general public, Boswell said.

Baby & Me program
Boswell pointed out there is a bit of statistical good news.

Volusia’s rate of pregnant women who smoked has decreased nearly 12 percent over the same period (2011-2015).

“We continue to work with our community partners to reduce the numbers of women who smoke while pregnant,” Boswell added.

Last year, DOH-Volusia became the first county in Florida to offer the Baby & Me – Tobacco Free Program. The program provides assistance to women who are using or recently quit using tobacco. The department also offers free smoking cessation resources for anyone.

For more information on the Baby & Me – Tobacco Free program or tobacco cessation resources, visit volusiahealth.com or call Kristen Mialki, tobacco program manager, at 386-274-0601.

To view the full report, visit volusiahealth.com/planning.

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