Kentucky Youth Advocates today released the 2018 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book, providing the latest data on 17 measures of child well-being, including the rates of smoking during pregnancy. Statewide, that rate dropped from 19 percent over the three-year period 2013-2015 to 18.1 percent during 2014-2016. Smoking during pregnancy rates improved in 113 counties, held steady in two counties and increased in five counties. Two counties (Lee and Owsley) had rates exceeding 40 percent (there were four in 2013-2015) but still improved, and 22 exceeded 30 percent (down from 35 in 2013-2015). Six counties saw decreases of 5 percentage points or more with the largest improvement in Shelby County, which dropped 6.9 percentage points, from 21 percent in 2013-2015 to 14.1 percent in 2014-2016.
Following is a statement from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky about this information:
“These numbers are heartening for pregnant moms and their infants in Kentucky,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Tobacco addiction is so difficult to break, but this report is proof positive that women all over Kentucky are finding a way to protect their babies from the dangers of smoking while pregnant.They’re reducing the risk that their babies will be born with birth defects or die suddenly without explanation during infancy. And they’re increasing the chances their babies will be born full-term and at a healthy weight. In fact, 73 out of 120 counties saw a reduction in low-birthweight babies.
“Quitting smoking is one of the most important things a woman can do to protect herself and her baby during pregnancy, and free or low-cost help is available.”