To combat the 25,000 smoking-related deaths in New York State, a new anti-smoking initiative is being offered to families and parents of newborns. Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital is one of 11 participating hospitals in New York and is the only children's hospital to take part in the program, dubbed "Opt-to-Quit."
Telephone-based support, free nicotine replacement drugs and other smoking cessation tools are available through the program, which is administered through the state's Quitline program.
"Few things are more important than creating a healthy environment for children," said Dr. Margaret McGovern, physician-in-chief at Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital.
According to health officials, secondhand smoke has dangerous implications for children: it has been known to increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and cause asthma, respiratory illnesses and middle ear infections.
"Having these resources available through a children’s hospital makes complete sense," McGovern said.
Additionally, Stony Brook hospitalist Dr. Rachel Boykan is the recipient of a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Julius P. Richmond Center for Excellence to study the factors that predict success in quitting smoking.
"Many smokers are ready to quit smoking, but the process of calling the Quitline can be an extra step they do not take,” Boykan said. “The Opt-to-Quit initiative facilitates the referral of smokers to the Quitline by making it part of our intake system. By taking contact information of willing participants, we remove the burden of their having to make the phone call themselves.”