Volusia County, FL – According to the County’s Department of Health, Volusia County has a higher percentage of pregnant women smoking and a higher rate of babies born underweight than the State.
The report from Volusia County’s Florida Department of Health (DOH-Volusia) found that between 2011 and 2015, the County had significantly higher rates of smoking during pregnancy and more babies born underweight than Florida.
(Rate of live births to women who smoked during pregnancy, 2011 – 2015)
17% of babies born to women who smoked while pregnant were underweight in Volusia while women that quit early in their pregnancies were much more likely to give birth to normal weight babies.
(Birth weights of babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy, Volusia County, 2015)
The rate of white pregnant women smoking was nearly double the rate of all non-white mothers, and women between the ages of 25 and 34 had the highest rates of smoking during pregnancy. Zip code 32759 in the southeast part of the county, around Oak Hill, saw the highest rate of babies born to smoking mothers. Three zip codes in northwest Volusia County reported no smoking mothers: 32190, 32190, and 32101.
(Women who smoked during pregnancy by ZIP code, Volusia County, 2015)
Not only is low birthweight a concern for babies born to pregnant smokers, but various birth defects, respiratory conditions, and even death can result from smoking while pregnant according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Every child should make it to their first birthday,” says DOH-Volusia administrator, Patricia Boswell. “Unfortunately, Volusia’s infant mortality rate is increasing. We’re looking at all aspects to help every child live a long happy life. Smoking is one of the factors that can place a baby at risk.”
This report was released to inform the public and raise awareness in the community. While Volusia had the highest rates in the state, the rate declined 12% during the reporting period of 2011 to 2015. “We continue to work with our community partners to reduce the numbers of women who smoke while pregnant,” says Boswell.
In 2016, the DOH-Volusia became the first county in the state to start the Baby & Me – Tobacco Free Program which offers resources and support to women who are current smokers and to those who have quit recently.
For more information on the program, go to VolusiaHealth.com or call the program manager, Kristen Mialki, at 386-274-0601.
Graphs and charts courtesy Volusia-DOH.
Photo courtesy vchal and Shutterstock.com.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.