PN targets pregnant women in $3.6m antismoking push

WASHINGTON: Porter Novelli has picked up a $3.6 million contract to support the National Partnership to Help Pregnant Smokers Quit - a coalition of 46 organizations formed to drastically reduce the number of pregnant women who smoke.

WASHINGTON: Porter Novelli has picked up a $3.6 million contract to support the National Partnership to Help Pregnant Smokers Quit - a coalition of 46 organizations formed to drastically reduce the number of pregnant women who smoke.

Porter Novelli - a firm with an entire practice dedicated to anti-tobacco efforts - has launched a 2.5-year campaign intended to stress the fact that 20% of pregnant women currently smoke, which accounts for 10% of infant deaths (approximately 1,000 babies) per year. "We hope that by getting the word out about how detrimental smoking during pregnancy can be, we will reduce the number of pregnant women who smoke to less than 2%, said Kathryn Kahler Vose, SVP and worldwide director of the firm's anti-tobacco practice.

Kahler Vose and her team plan to use a counseling technique devised by Smoke Free Families - one of the organizations spearheading the project - which has been proven to cut smoking rates.

Along with "aggressive media relations, Porter Novelli plans to use five- to 15-minute counseling sessions to educate the public about the damaging effects of smoking during pregnancy.

"We will be working with midwives, doctors, and nurses, said Kahler Vose. "It is a national campaign, but we will be paying special attention to the cities where smoking rates are the highest."

In December 2001, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that Midwestern and Southern states have the highest smoking rates in the country. The organization sited Toledo, OH and Knoxville, TN as the top two smoking cities in the US, respectively.

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