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Tennessee Intervention for Pregnant Smokers

East Tennessee State University



Smoking during pregnancy is highly correlated with preterm birth, low birth weight, fatal prenatal complications, and a host of other consequences for the exposed child, including: asthma, allergies, wheezing, colds, ear infections, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, learning problems, behavioral and attention difficulties, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

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Facts and Figures for Northeast Tennessee

Unfortunately, Northeast Tennessee has elevated rates of both birth complications and pregnancy smoking.  Due to their demonstrated direct relationship, this is not surprising. Most alarming is the finding that the rate of pregnancy smoking here is quadruple that of the national average.  Additionally, the region has the fastest growing rate of infant mortality in the state and rates of low birth weight and premature births are both above the national average. 

Data from 2006-2007



Washington & Carter Counties

Pregnancy smoking rate



Low birth weight rate



Preterm birth rate



In addition, the following differences between babies born to smokers and those born to non-smokers were found in Washington County in 2006 and 2007:

  • Babies born to smokers were nearly 350gm lighter than those born to non-smokers (2878gm vs 3216gm), and were nearly twice as likely to be classified as low birth weight (22.5% vs 12.3%)
  • Babies born to smokers were nearly an inch shorter than those born to non-smokers (18.9 in vs 19.6 in)
  • Babies born to smokers were born almost a week earlier than those born to non-smokers (37.2 weeks vs 38.0 weeks), and were nearly twice as likely to be born preterm (22.5% vs 15.0%)
  • Babies born to smokers were nearly twice as likely to be admitted to the NICU (16.2% vs 9.1%)

These disproportionate numbers led to the development of the current TIPS program, with goals of improving birth outcomes, decreasing pregnancy smoking, and making pregnancy smoking assessm ent and counseling the standard of prenatal care in this region.

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