Louisville, Ky - Tuesday, November 17, 2020: Today, Kentucky Youth Advocates released the 2020 KIDS COUNT data book, which provides county-level data about a variety of factors affect children and youth in the Commonwealth. The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow released this statement about one set of data - the rate of women who smoke cigarettes while pregnant. (The 2020 data points represent the average rate for the years 2016-2018.)
 
“The science is clear about the risks of smoking to unborn children, including premature births, birth defects, and sudden infant death syndrome,” said Ben Chandler, Chair of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow. “So, as we work to reduce tobacco use in Kentucky – especially among those at greatest health risk – we want to give a shout out to a few counties that have made significant progress recently in reducing the rates of smoking among pregnant women. Lee County (from 42.7 percent last year to 35.7 percent this year), Lyon County (26.8 percent to 22.5 percent), and Nicholas County (31.4 percent to 26 percent) are among those that reduced their rates by the greatest proportions. We also saw a 33 percent drop in the number of counties with rates of 30 percent or higher, from 24 in 2019 to 16 this year.
 
“But at least one in five women continue to smoke while pregnant in 82 of Kentucky‘s 120 counties, and the statewide rate is one in 5.6. That’s two-and-a-half times the national rate of one in 14. And the highest rates of smoking in general among women are among those already dealing with low household incomes that put them at greater risk for inadequate health care during pregnancy.
 
“We simply must make this a priority in the Commonwealth. That means supporting cost-effective smoking prevention and cessation programs. And it means allowing local government to control the marketing and sale of tobacco products. If we want healthy babies, it’s time to get serious about helping pregnant women quit smoking in Kentucky.”
 
About the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow:
The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow is committed to its mission of improving Kentucky's health by protecting Kentuckians from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions, and by reducing the high rate of smoking and tobacco use in the Commonwealth. For more information, please visit www.smokefreetomorrow.org.

The Coalition is led by representatives of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Baptist Health, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Humana, Kentucky Cancer Foundation, Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Council of Churches, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Kentucky Health Collaborative, Kentucky Health Departments Association, Kentucky Hospital Association, Kentucky Medical Association, Kentucky Nurses Association, Kentucky School Boards Association, Kentucky Voices for Health, and Kentucky Youth Advocates. Other partners and members of the Coalition represent a broad array of more than 220 groups, including Kentucky business leaders, health advocates, health care providers and payers, educators, and faith community leaders.

Media Contacts:
Bonnie Hackbarth
bhackbarth@healthy-ky.org  
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-552-3770 (Mobile)
 
Alexa Kerley
akerley@healthy-ky.org  
877-326-2583 (Office)
859-229-9611 (Mobile)