Doctors Encourage Women to Quit Smoking for Mother’s Day

May 06, 2010

Doctors at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center encourage pregnant women and mothers to quit smoking for Mother’s Day to improve their health and that of their children and loved ones.

Joining with the state Department of Health, doctors and smoking-cessation experts cite the many resources available to women, and men, who want to quit smoking, such as the New York State Smokers Quitline and the Greater Rochester Area Tobacco Cessation Center.

“If you're a pregnant woman who smokes, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to protect your child,” said state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. “According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Women and Smoking, quitting smoking can reduce the risks of respiratory illness, miscarriages, stillbirths and infant deaths. Additionally, smoking can decrease fertility, so you also should quit if you would like to become pregnant.”

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Experts at the Wilmot Cancer Center and GRATCC offer a variety of education and support opportunities for people who want to quit and trains physicians and obstetrician/gynecologists to recognize patients who smoke and support them in quitting.

“Many smokers contemplate quitting periodically and there may not be a more powerful reason to quit than protecting your children,” said Scott McIntosh, Ph.D., director of the Greater Rochester Area Tobacco Cessation Center, a part of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Community and Preventive Medicine. Each year, about one-third of all smokers try to quit, but fewer than 10 percent succeed. However, if you track smokers over their lifetime, more than 50 percent do ultimately succeed, McIntosh said.

Assistance fighting nicotine addiction is available from the New York State Quitline, at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or

All systems within the body are affected by smoking, including significant damage to the cardiovascular system and increased risk of cancers. Second hand smoke is also dangerous for children and loved ones and research shows it can cause respiratory diseases and fertility problems.

McIntosh offers the following tips for people trying to quit:

  • If a smoker can give up cigarettes for 24 hours, he or she doubles the chance for permanent success.
  • Quitting smoking cuts in half the risk of developing any type of cancer later in life. Even if you have pre-cancerous cellular changes in your body, quitting smoking can reverse that process.
  • Make a plan for quitting. Talk to a physician about strategies such as cold turkey versus a nicotine patch, gum or inhaler.
  • Tell friends, family and co-workers that you plan to quit and rally them to help you stick with it.
  • Avoid risky situations or behaviors, and remove triggers such as ashtrays and lighters.
  • Remind yourself why you are quitting - because you love your children -- and reward yourself with a hug from your child every day you forego cigarettes.

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Leslie White
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