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State Senator Files Smoking Cessation Bill

August 19, 2009

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky has one of the highest rates in the nation of women who smoke during pregnancy, ranking 49th of all the states, and Senator Denise Harper Angel (D-Louisville) hopes something can be done about it in the next legislative session. She has filed a bill that would provide more smoking cessation programs and treatment interventions specifically for pregnant smokers.

Menisa Marshall, with the American Lung Association's Kentucky office, says it's a priority that should not have to wait any longer.

"Smoking during pregnancy is pointed to as the single most preventable cause of death and disability for maternal and infant health in the United States. Are there not ways that we can help them and support them - through education, through a comprehensive approach, through legislation - and provide some economic support for cessation programs that would help them quit?"

Kentucky also has a high rate of premature births, and smoking during pregnancy is one of the leading causes, explains Marshall. If women in the state stopped smoking during pregnancy and had the same rate of preterm births as mothers who don't smoke, she says, Kentucky would have 400 fewer preterm births each year, representing a savings of almost $15 million.

Although other efforts have been made to decrease the number of pregnant smokers in the state, the rate has not yet declined. The General Assembly will consider the bill when legislators return to the State Capitol for the 2010 session.

Bill Goodman, Public News Service - KY