WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has selected the Washington, D.C. office of Porter Novelli to support the newly created National Partnership to Help Pregnant Smokers Quit. The assignment is worth $3.6 million.
The National Partnership to Help Pregnant Smokers Quit is a coalition of 46 organizations dedicated to achieving a drastic reduction in the number of pregnant women who smoke in part by promoting and expanding access to a new counseling approach that has been shown to dramatically affect quit rates.
The cornerstone of the partnership’s effort is a brief, easy to implement five- to 15-minute counseling approach that has been shown to dramatically affect quit rates, doubling or even tripling the quit rate among pregnant smokers compared to simply advising them to quit. The partnership aims to make this counseling available to all pregnant women who smoke.
“Quitting smoking is the most important thing a pregnant woman can do to improve both her health and the health of her unborn child,” said Cathy Melvin, National Partnership chair and director of the Smoke-Free Families National Dissemination Office.
The partnership will develop a public service advertising and communications campaign to increase pregnant smokers’ knowledge of cessation resources, and to illustrate how pregnant smokers’ partners, family members, and friends can support and encourage them during their quit attempts.
“Changing behavior means that we need to help providers deliver effective services, and we also need to make sure people know they are available,” says C. Tracy Orleans, senior scientist at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We plan to work with both national and local media to help pregnant smokers learn where to get the help they need.”
According to Porter Novelli senior vice president Kathryn Kahler Vose, “This is a tremendously exciting time in the anti-tobacco movement, and we are thrilled to have an opportunity to bring our experience to the National Partnership. We hope our work will help to save lives, reduce health care costs, and raise healthier babies by helping women to stop smoking while they are pregnant and beyond.”

Vose leads the firm’s anti-tobacco practice, which works with the American Legacy Foundation on its Great Start campaign—which targets women smokers—as well as the truth youth anti-smoking initiative. Other anti-tobacco clients include the State of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Florida truth campaign, Georgia’s Youth in Charge, the North Carolina Department of Public Health, and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.