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Counseling, Pregnancy, Staff Development, Smoking



  1. Aquilino, Mary Lober PhD, RN, FNP
  2. Goody, Cynthia M. PhD, RD, LD
  3. Lowe, John B. DrPH, FAHPA


Purpose: To examine the perspectives of WIC clinic providers on offering smoking cessation interventions for pregnant women.


Study Design and Methods: Four focus groups consisting of WIC nurses, dietitians, and social workers (N = 25) were conducted at WIC clinics in eastern Iowa. Researchers developed discussion guidelines to determine how WIC providers currently approached pregnant women who smoke cigarettes and what they considered barriers to providing effective smoking cessation interventions. Code mapping was used to analyze focus group discussions.


Results: Factors influencing the ability of WIC staff to provide a smoking cessation intervention for pregnant women included available time, clinic priorities, staff approaches to clients, and staff training. In addition, providers expressed concerns about educational materials for clients as well as additional client issues that prevented smoking cessation. The absence of mechanisms to track clinic outcomes related to smoking cessation was also noted.


Clinical Implications: WIC providers have time limitations that may necessitate minimal or low-intensity interventions for smoking cessation, but did not know that such approaches are actually effective. WIC providers require more education about the entire issue of smoking cessation in order to become more proactive in their attempts to help pregnant women quit. Training that enhances self-efficacy and understanding of the impact of smoking on mothers, infants, and children should be initiated to motivate staff to intervene. Another strategy to motivate WIC staff in this regard could be tracking clinic outcomes in helping women to quit smoking or prevent relapse.