Parents are often motivated to quit smoking when they welcome a new baby into their family. Catching them while they're still in the hospital may be ideal, according to the study, "Using the Postpartum Hospital Stay to Address Mothers' and Fathers' Smoking: The NEWS Study," published in the March issue of Pediatrics (appearing online Feb. 1).

This pilot trial, known as Newborns Excel Without Secondhand Smoke (NEWS), assessed the smoking status of all new parents giving birth at a hospital child birth center during a 14-month period. Researchers enrolled 101 new parents who were smokers or who had recently quit smoking. About half received an in-person counseling session and an invitation to enroll in a telephone quit line. Letters were also sent to the newborn's pediatrician, the parents' primary care provider, and the mother's obstetrician indicating their tobacco use status and recommending strategies to help them quit.

Of current smokers, 64 percent of those in the intervention group reported a quit attempt, versus 18 percent in the control group. Researchers noted the hospital stay may be a particularly opportune time to coach new fathers; while 90 percent of mothers were counseled by their obstetricians to quit smoking, only 15 percent of fathers received this advice. A high rate (75 percent) of fathers in the intervention group at the hospital enrolled in the quit line. Researchers concluded it is feasible to enroll mothers and fathers into tobacco treatment services during the immediate postpartum stay, and that it seems to stimulate attempts to quit smoking.

American Academy of Pediatrics

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