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November is Prematurity Awareness Month

Dear Editor,

Did you know that one of the risks factors for mothers who deliver babies prematurely is smoking cigarettes or being exposed to cigarette smoke? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in eight babies are born prematurely in the United States every year. In the African American community, that number is one in six babies.

There is a reason why Wisconsin passed the smoke-free law in 2010, and it goes far beyond exposing people to second hand smoke. The dangers of smoking cigarettes not only have a huge medical cost attached to it, but it can mean life or death of a baby to expectant mothers. In the United States, besides the emotional toil premature deaths take on families, they cost our society more than $26 billion a year; this includes neo-natal post-delivery care and, in some cases, lifelong medical attention that the child may require as a result of being born prematurely.

Our children are precious and priceless and, the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN) is asking expectant mothers to put down the cigarettes and give baby a fighting chance at living a healthy, normal life.

Tina Rivera
-Member Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network