VCU Launches Smoking Cessation Campaign for Pregnant Women in Richmond

“One Tiny Reason to Quit” focuses on reducing infant mortality

The Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Health Disparities, in partnership with the City of Richmond Department of Social Services Healthy Start Initiative, is launching a new media campaign to help pregnant women stop smoking.

“One Tiny Reason to Quit” will encourage expectant mothers to get information and support about smoking cessation by calling a toll-free number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Reporters are invited to cover the launch of “One Tiny Reason to Quit” on Wednesday, June 17, at 11 a.m. in the auditorium at Pine Camp Arts and Community Center, 4901 Old Brook Rd. Media should arrive between 10:35 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. Parking is available in front of the building.

Representatives from VCU Health System, City of Richmond Department of Social Services Healthy Start Initiative, Richmond City Health District and Virginia Department of Health will explain the campaign and answer questions.

Richmond has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The infant mortality rate among African Americans is especially high. In 2007, 36 of the 41 infant deaths reported in Richmond were African American infants.

Smoking during pregnancy is one of the most significant behavioral causes of infant mortality. The “2001 Surgeon General's Report: Tobacco Use and Reproductive Outcomes” estimates eliminating maternal smoking could lead to a 10 percent reduction in all infant deaths and a 12 percent reduction in deaths from perinatal conditions.

“One Tiny Reason to Quit” is funded through a research grant from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities in response to the heightened infant mortality statistics in the City of Richmond and the disparities in rates between African Americans and whites.