Trading Off Cigarettes for Diapers Could Improve Healthcare Outlook

By Jim Moore

The Unified Government Public Health Department of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS has launched a program that demonstrates how communities can encourage and incentivize people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

The program, called “Baby & Me Tobacco Free,” offers pregnant women free diapers in exchange for their efforts to quit smoking. Diapers can be a significant expense for families and, as long as they stay smoke-free, participants can get a monthly diaper voucher for up to a year after delivery.

In addition to the diaper vouchers, the program provides sessions with trained case managers and regular carbon monoxide readings to give mothers and their families visible proof that their efforts are paying off.

Wyandotte County’s smoking rate is higher than national and state averages, with more than 10% of pregnant women smoking. Programs such as this may very well have a positive effect on the overall state of healthcare in our region. Incentivizing healthier lifestyles was among the challenges discussed by participant’s in Ingram’s recent Healthcare and Insurance Outlook Assembly.