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Current Year Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

CAMH launches website to help pregnant women quit smoking

For Immediate Release – August 9, 2012 (Toronto) - Smoking during pregnancy poses serious health risks for both mother and baby. Based on self-reported data, 10.5 per cent of Canadian women smoke while pregnant. Actual smoking rates are likely to be much higher, however. Studies indicate that pregnant women under-report smoking status, and that more than half of all women who smoke do not quit during pregnancy. In response the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) developed PREGNETS, a provincial website to help women who are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant or have just had a baby quit or reduce smoking.

“We know what negative effects exposure to nicotine can have, but we also know that smoking is one of the most difficult addictions to break,” said Dr. Peter Selby, Clinical Director of Addiction Programs at CAMH. “Stigma around smoking during pregnancy can deter women from seeking treatment. PREGNETS offers a woman-centred approach that emphasizes support instead of guilt or shame. It was also important that we create a support tool that was accessible to women in their homes.”

Resources and tools on the site are based on women’s needs as determined through CAMH research involving input from pregnant and post-partum women.

The first line of care for expectant mothers is often their family physician or midwife and it is important that they have the resources they need to support patients in the process of reducing or quitting smoking. PREGNETS offers specialized sections for healthcare providers and women. The site gives health care providers access to a current literature review focused on smoking in pregnant women, an up-to-date toolkit available for download with key recommendations and tools to use with women as well as access to other related resources.

For women, the site focuses on building a community of support with other women through the use of a discussion board and also includes a personalized quit meter, various self help materials, and tips on a healthy pregnancy, partner support, common questions and answers, how to deal with cravings and more.

Media Contact: Michael Torres, Media Relations, CAMH; 416-595-6015;

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 PREGNETS began in 2003 as part of the Nicotine Dependence Services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The project has received funding from Echo Ontario to conduct research with pregnant and postpartum women, re-establish and update thePREGNETS website and update the available tools and resources. 

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.

CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.


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