(BLOOMINGTON) – Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and impaired lung function are just two ways exposure to tobacco can harm babies. If you are a new mother, reach out to IU Health Community Health for free resources to help quit using tobacco.
“There are many benefits to quitting tobacco products. The baby will get more oxygen and grow better,” said IU Health Community Health Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, Patricia Colon, MPH, CHES. “The mother will also likely have more energy and be able to breathe easier. Quitting tobacco can be difficult, but, for the health of both the baby and the mother, it is important that new moms work to quit.”
Infants and fetuses exposed to tobacco have increased risk for serious health issues, and they don’t even need to be in the room where someone is smoking to be affected. Mothers who breastfeed and use tobacco products pass the chemicals found in tobacco to their infant through breast milk.
“Just because a new mom isn’t breastfeeding doesn’t mean she isn’t putting her child at risk by using tobacco. Regardless of the feeding method, using tobacco can cause serious health problems for babies,” said Colon.
Babies can even be exposed through third-hand smoke, which can be found on a person’s clothing, hands, and furniture. That’s why it’s important for anyone around an infant to wash their hands and change their clothes to ones that have been washed recently before coming in contact with the child.
IU Health Community Health offers Beat Tobacco, a free eight-week class for community members who would like to quit smoking. To learn more about these classes, which covers topics like using nicotine replacement therapy and battling common side effects, visit https://iuhealth.org/in-the-community/south-central-region/tobacco-prevention. No pre-registration required.
“We offer these classes to the community because we know how hard it can be to quit using tobacco. We welcome new moms to join to have a successful transition to becoming smoke-free for themselves and their baby,” said Colon.
Monroe County Health Department also offers sessions to help with quitting tobacco. Monroe County’s
“Baby and Me – Tobacco Free” program is by appointment only. Call 812-349-2150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Mothers who quit using tobacco during this free program can earn vouchers for diapers and baby wipes.
For more information on the dangers of using tobacco around babies, visit