Columbus Public Health on mission to help mothers-to-be, partners quit smoking


COLUMBUS, Ohio — It’s widely known that smoking while pregnant and even secondhand smoke can lead to issues such as asthma in children or premature birth.

But Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts explained to 10TV that smoking can even lead to a baby’s sleep-related death.

On average, she said 150 babies die every year before their first birthday here in central Ohio.

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A quarter of those deaths are sleep-related, Dr. Roberts said.

That’s why Columbus Public Health wants to help new moms and their partners quit smoking through their program, Baby and Me Tobacco Free.

10TV talked with a couple that graduated from the program.

“I have to be able to breathe and last longer and I know this has helped a lot. It really has,” said Ciara Mosley.

Ciara Mosley and her husband, Mark, want to be the best parents they can be for their son, Marko, who turned one in October.

“I’m a bit older, so I want to be here for my child, you know what I mean? So, I have to do things that are healthy and preserve myself so that I am here for him,” Mark Mosley said. “That’s been my biggest motivation of all.”

For the Mosleys, being the best they can be meant giving up cigarettes.

“If I’m relaxing and sitting down and nothing to do, nothing occupying my hands, sometimes I would reach over and get a cigarette just because they’re laying there,” Mark said.

The couple started trying to quit before Marko was born but it was around his 4-month mark when Ciara said enough was enough.

“After I pumped milk for him, I’d be like, ‘Okay, good – I don’t have to worry about it because he’s got milk set aside. I can smoke a cigarette now. I can relax.’ And it was still not good because he likes milk on demand so sometimes he might not necessarily want it from the bottle,” she said.

It was the Columbus Public Health program, Baby and Me Tobacco Free, that did the trick.

The program coaches mothers-to-be and their partners to quit smoking with aids like nicotine patches and gum and lifestyle changes.

There is also an incentive for diaper vouchers for each month the mother and her partner are smoke-free until their child’s first birthday.

“Obviously, it helps the health of the individuals who were smoking, so the health of the mom and their partners,” said Dr. Roberts. “It reduces their chances of having lung issues, most notably lung cancer, but it also helps our babies.”

Now, the Mosleys say they are smoke-free and better off because of it.

“They gave me the insight into how to break the chain; how to stop the cycle,” Mark said.

It’s led to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

“Simple stuff that you can enjoy with your kid when you’re not smoking,” Ciara said. “It’s just so much easier and it’s so much healthier and it just, it helps them to become smart and bright kids.”

With a quit rate of 90 percent or higher for mothers-to-be and their partners in the program, Columbus Public Health recently added a similar option for parenting moms.

For more information, click here.