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Children's Hospital Hosts Senate Committee to Hear Testimony on Orie Bill Aimed at Helping Pregnant Women Stop Smoking

The State Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to hear testimony on legislation to promote programs aimed at helping pregnant women stop smoking.

The hearing will be held on Monday, Sept. 13, 2004, from 10 a.m. until noon in the B-Level Conference Center at Children's. The media and public are invited to attend.

Committee members will hear testimony on a bill sponsored by Senator Jane Orie (R-Allegheny) that would establish new Maternal Smoking Cessation and Prevention Programs within the state Department of Health (DOH). Senate Bill 833 is currently being considered by the committee. Orie said the programs are intended to provide educational materials on the dangers and lasting harm caused by smoking during pregnancy.

Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more susceptible to crib death (sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS), inner ear disease, exacerbation of asthma conditions and hospitalizations.

Deborah Moss, MD, a pediatrician in the Division of General Academic Pediatrics at Children's, will testify. Dr. Moss, who is a national expert on pediatric tobacco issues and works with parents to help them quit smoking, is scheduled to testify between 10 and 10:30 a.m.

Orie's bill would direct the DOH to establish smoking cessation and prevention programs with revenues appropriated from the Tobacco Settlement Fund. In addition, the DOH would be required to provide retailers with educational materials on the specific harms to the infant caused by maternal smoking and resources available to help the mother stop smoking. Retailers would be required to prominently display these materials in areas where cigarettes are sold.

"Despite public research, while many women are aware of the relationship between smoking and premature birth and low birth weight, many do not know the specific and lasting harm that may be caused by smoking during pregnancy," Orie said. "A recent study found that reducing smoking by one percentage point in the United States over seven years would prevent 57,200 low birth weights in infants and save $572 million in direct medical costs. Stopping maternal smoking can save lives ad help to ensure that more babies are born healthy."

Melanie Finnigan, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 412-692-5016,
Carol Maravic, Senate Republican Communications, 717-787-6725,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008