Smoking and Tobacco Use

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Smoking and Tobacco Use

Most people know that smoking causes cancer and other major health problems. And smoking while you’re pregnant can cause serious problems, too. Your baby could be born too early, have a birth defect, or die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Even being around cigarette smoke can cause health problems for you and your baby!

It’s best to quit smoking before you get pregnant. But if you’re already pregnant, quitting can still help protect you and your baby from health problems. It’s never too late to quit smoking.

Local Facts:

  • In Forsyth County, women who smoke while they are pregnant are 2 times as likely to have their babies die than women who did not smoke.
  • African American women in Forsyth County who smoke when they are pregnant are 4 times more likely to have their babies die than are white women who smoke.
  • North Carolina mothers who smoked during pregnancy were 5 times more likely to have their babies die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

How Does Smoking Harm My Baby?

  • Your baby may be born too small, even after a full-term pregnancy. Smoking slows your baby’s growth before birth.
  • Your baby may be born too early (premature birth). Premature babies often have health problems.
  • Smoking can damage your baby’s developing lungs and brain. The damage can last through childhood and into the teen years.
  • Smoking raises your baby’s risk for birth defects, including cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. A cleft is an opening in your baby’s lip or in the roof of her mouth (palate). He or she can have trouble eating properly and is likely to need surgery.
  • Babies of moms who smoke during pregnancy—and babies exposed to cigarette smoke after birth—have a higher risk for SIDS.

When Mom’s Stop Smoking:

  • Your baby gets more oxygen, even after just 1 day.
  • Your baby will grow better.
  • Your baby is less likely to be born too early.
  • You’ll have more energy and breathe more easily.

It’s hard to quit smoking, but there are resources that can help. Please visit them below if you or someone you know needs help quitting smoking or tobacco use (including vaping). The right kind of support can help a pregnant woman to get through the unique challenges of quitting during this phase of life.

Myths: Smoking and Pregnancy

Quitting is the best thing you can do for you and your baby. Here are some common myths about quitting and pregnancy.

You Quit, Two Quit

Get the facts about electronic cigarettes, their health effects, and the risks of using e-cigarettes.

Do Not Smoke During Pregnancy

For support in quitting, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to local resources, please call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669); TTY 1-800-332-8615.

About Us

The Forsyth County Infant Mortality Reduction Coalition is a community partnership housed within the Forsyth County Department of Public Health.

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799 North Highland Avenue
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

(336) 703-3260
(336) 703-3100