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2003 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Free Toolkit now available to help pregnant mothers quit the habit

For immediate release: December 8, 2003 (Toronto) If you have wondered if quitting smoking abruptly might cause stress to a developing baby or if choosing a milder cigarette for the duration of your pregnancy is a safe option, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has the answer to these and other questions in a toolkit that is now available online at www.Pregnets.org. Designed for health care professionals and pregnant women, the toolkit is user friendly and has been developed to provide accurate information about pregnancy and quitting smoking.
The bottom line is that pregnant women should stop smoking because there is no known level of smoking or exposure to second hand smoke that is safe for them or an unborn child. "Quitting smoking is not easy and bringing it up with health care providers can sometimes be difficult," says Dr. Peter Selby who is the Project leader of PREGNETS and head of CAMH's Nicotine Dependence Clinic.  "Although we strongly encourage women to speak with their healthcare provider, this toolkit is a great opportunity for both patient and doctor to get started on addressing the challenges of quitting smoking during pregnancy."
Smoking during pregnancy is a major public health problem because it can lead to serious health problems in newborns and children. The benefits of quitting smoking to both mother and child are significant.  The baby will get more oxygen, his/her lungs will work better, is more likely to have a normal birth weight, is less likely to have colds and ear infections, may have fewer asthma and breathing problems and is more likely to be born at term. There is also a better chance that the baby will go home with the mother from the hospital.
PREGNETS combines resources from the following agencies: Best Start Resource Centre, Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Clinical Tobacco Interventions, Motherisk (Hospital for Sick Children), Program Training and Consultation Centre, Smokers' Helpline, St. Joseph's Health Centre, and Toronto Public Heath onto one online location.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre and a teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
Financial contribution for the PREGNETS program is from the Tobacco Control Programme, Health Canada.
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For further information, please contact Sylvia Hagopian, CAMH Media relations Coordinator, at 416-595-6015.
CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
CAMH General Information Toronto: 416-595-6111 Toll Free: 1-800-463-6273
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