A tobacco free pregnancy gives babies a healthy head start. Pregnant tobacco users can get free help quitting and earn free diapers and wipes with help from the DHEC BABY & ME - Tobacco-Free Program™ team. This program helps pregnant tobacco users quit all tobacco products* with evidence based, judgement free, one-on-one support.
Tobacco free babies are more likely to be born on time and at a healthy weight and are less likely to have complications that need further medical treatment.
How the Program Works
- Facilitators provide education, individualized counseling, carbon monoxide and/or cotinine testing, and incentives (electronic vouchers for diapers and wipes) to help women quit successfully
- Participants who stay tobacco free receive electronic vouchers ($25) to purchase any brand or size of diapers or baby wipes at Walmart or Walmart.com. (eligible to receive up to 14 vouchers)
- Carbon monoxide (CO) and/or cotinine testing are used to determine tobacco free status of participating women and support partners
- Remote CO testing is available once participants have tested tobacco free in-person
- All cotinine testing must be completed in-person
- Potential participants and potential referral partners can contact a DHEC BABY & ME - Tobacco-Free Program™ team member for more information
Who Can Participate
- Pregnant women who currently use or have recently quit using tobacco products OR who have quit using tobacco products within three months of becoming pregnant
- Must be less than 36 weeks pregnant
- No income or age requirements
- Support partners can also participate! A support partner is any individual who lives in the same household as the pregnant woman and who also uses either cigarettes, cigars, or e-cigarettes/vapes (i.e. husband, partner, mother, sister, friend, etc.). Note - tobacco free support partners receive electronic vouchers after the baby is born. Support partners who use smokeless products like dip or chew are not eligible to participate.
*All references to tobacco use are about the use of commercial tobacco products–not the sacred and traditional use of tobacco for ceremonial or medicinal purposes.
I'm Ready to Participate!
Carbon Monoxide and Cotinine Testing
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poisonous gas that replaces oxygen in the lungs and bloodstream of people who smoke or who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Once in the bloodstream of a pregnant woman, CO restricts the flow of oxygen to the baby, which can lead to growth and developmental complications. CO testing can show if harmful amounts of secondhand smoke are being inhaled.
How carbon monoxide testing works:
- At an in-person visit with a DHEC BABY & ME - Tobacco-Free Program™ facilitator, participants blow into a hand-held machine, called a CO monitor, which measures the level of CO in the body. It also measures how much CO is getting to the baby.
- After the in-person CO test, participants may be eligible for at-home CO testing.
Nicotine is highly addictive and is found in all commercial tobacco products. Nicotine is dangerous for developing babies because it can damage their brain and lungs. Exposure to nicotine in commercial tobacco products like e-cigarettes/vapes, dip, and/or chew leads to measurable levels of cotinine in the body, which can be detected with cotinine testing. E-cigarettes/vapes and smokeless tobacco products are harmful to developing babies and pose risks to moms, as well.
How cotinine testing works:
- A DHEC BABY & ME - Tobacco-Free Program™ facilitator will test for cotinine at in-person visits via an easy, painless saliva swab
- Cotinine testing results are available within 10 minutes (positive or negative results)
To become a referring partner with the DHEC BABY & ME - Tobacco-Free Program™, healthcare providers can contact a DHEC BABY & ME - Tobacco-Free Program™ team member below for more information. We provide free training and support to help improve birth outcomes for your patients.
Healthcare provider online referral link
Current list of referring partners:
- DHEC Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program
- DHEC Family Planning Services
- Nurse Family Partnership
- Nurse Family Partnership - Spartanburg Regional
- Help Me Grow SC
- Anderson Pregnancy Center
- Foothills Care Center
- PRISMA Health - Blueridge Women's Center Seneca
- PRISMA Health - Center for Pediatric Medicine
- Birthright of Greenville
- Cherokee Pregnancy Center
- Carolina Pregnancy Center
DHEC BABY & ME - Tobacco-Free Program™ Contacts
Statewide Program Director
Kymburle Gripper Sims
Upstate Community Systems Director
Upstate Team Lead
Midlands Community Systems Director
Midlands Team Lead