Thursday, March 3 is World Birth Defects Day

Every year 3 to 6 percent of children are born with a birth defect. Many of these birth defects are preventable. Maternal health is critical. Tobacco is a common cause of birth defects. Tobacco causes premature delivery, asthma and death. How can we protect unborn babies? One of the best ways to prevent secondhand smoke exposure, is smoke-free places — indoor and outdoor. We must also support mothers on their path to quitting tobacco and nicotine use.

According to the World Health Organization, secondhand smoke causes birth defects. Removing secondhand smoke starts with smoke-free housing. All household members must quit. However, mothers also inhale secondhand smoke outside of the home. To combat this, public places are going smoke free.

Healthcare facilities are a great example. A move towards tobacco free healthcare is important. Healthcare advice is effective at encouraging quitting. Unfortunately, providers do not advise 40 percent of patients to quit. However, 70 percent of smokers want to quit. Smoke-free policies drive the quit messaging, the quit support and help remove relapse triggers.

Mothers play the biggest role in reducing birth defects. Quitting tobacco cuts the probability of birth defects in half. Supporting mothers to quit is very important.

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Sign up or share free resources today. Getting help is as easy as calling (800)300-8086. Free patches may be available. You can also text Quit Smoking to 66819.

Together, we can help prevent secondhand smoke at health care facilities, protecting mothers. To get involved visit Smoke Free High Country’s website or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @smokefreehighcountry.