Mothers who smoke and children who are exposed to smoking and ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) are at risk of developing multiple health problems. Pregnant adolescents have the highest relative risk of giving birth to a low birth weight infant. The Teachable Moment (1992), an Ontario wide study developed by St. Mary's Home, revealed that 56% of maternity home clients smoked during pregnancy and only 19% quit smoking while pregnant. These findings indicated a much higher prevalence of smoking in this already high risk population as compared to smoking rates of the general public.
Kick Butt for Two, which began in 1995, is a program for young single parents and pregnant teens. It was developed by the Young/Single Parent Support Network and funded by Health Canada. It is now managed by Brighter Futures forChildren of Young Single Parents , a project of the Network.
Kick Butt for Two allows program participants to make an informed choice of goals: abstinence or moderation. The program assists clients to develop effective, alternate stress reduction and coping strategies to prevent relapses. By learning and implementing new behaviours, coping skills and cognitive restructuring, clients gain problem-solving skills and positive self-images. New coping skills emphasize self-care and non-destructive methods of achieving personal goals. Program participants play an active role in the program development, delivery and evaluation.The Kick Butt for Two program has four goals:
The guiding philosophy of the program supports the concept that success is not measured by quitting alone. Success can be attained by reducing, having a smoke-free home, protecting children from second hand smoke, changing smoking behaviour or quitting smoking. The incorporation of this philosophy into each session avoids setting up participants for failure. They know up front what is meant by “success” and are therefore provided with multiple opportunities to achieve success.
Kick Butt for Two has demonstrated positive changes in both smoking behaviours and attitudes of clients and staff. The program has reduced the number of pregnant and parenting adolescents who smoke as well as the number of children exposed to ETS. It fills a void in smoking cessation programs designed for teens by targeting at risk pregnant and parenting teens with very few resources. Developing a program specifically for pregnant adolescents and young/single parents allows for focus on specific issues relevant to this client group.
A Kick Butt for Two Facilitator’s Guide has been developed and is available to others who wish to deliver the program. It includes a sample Public Service Announcement. It is available in either French or English, at the cost of $35 (plus $5 for shipping and handling).Kick Butt for Two /