LSU Program Director Awarded Grant to Develop an Interactive Voice Response System Intervention for Pregnant Smokers

Mr. Michael Celestin, Director of the Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative and Instructor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health, has been awarded pilot funding by the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium to develop a culturally tailored intervention using Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) technology to promote and maintain smoking cessation among socioeconomically disadvantaged pregnant women in Louisiana.

In the U.S., one in five women smoked the three months before pregnancy, one in ten smoked during the last three months of pregnancy, and one in seven smoked postpartum. Maternal smoking is associated with miscarriage, preterm delivery, restricted fetal growth, infant mortality, birth defects and ADHD in children. Socioeconomically disadvantaged pregnant women have a greater risk of smoking during and after pregnancy. Evidence-based cessation interventions exist to aid quit attempts, but few target pregnant smokers and enrollment in and utilization of cessation programs remain low.

IVRS technology will serve as an innovative approach to recruit and enroll pregnant smokers into various types of cessation treatment. “This study will use a mixed method approach to explore pregnant smoker’s knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and perspectives on the facilitators and barriers to smoking cessation,” Mr. Celestin said. “These findings will inform IVRS message development to promote cessation and triage ready-to-quit smokers for preferred treatment.”

Mr. Celestin will collaborate with co-investigators Dr. Tyra Toston-Gross, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana, as well as associate professor Dr. Tung-Sung Tseng and professor emeritus Dr. Sarah Moody-Thomas of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at LSU.