Advocates from the Wells Bayou Youth Development Inc. (WBYD) are encouraging moms who smoke or use tobacco to quit on Mother’s Day, May 13.

Residents who want to quit using tobacco can call 1-800-QUIT NOW to receive free help and quit tobacco medications through Arkansas Tobacco Quit Line, according to a news release.

WBYD is a member of the Arkansas Cancer Coalition and partners with the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 23 percent of the women in Arkansas currently smoke. In addition, 15 percent of Arkansas women smoke during pregnancy — more than the national average according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,” a spokesman said in the release.

Ermer J. Preston is director of the WBYD.

“Mothers who give up smoking greatly improve the likelihood that their children will grow-up to be tobacco-free and live longer, healthier lives,” Preston said. “We’ve got to do everything we can to help women quit tobacco use.”

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids also reports that more than 1,000 Arkansas kids have lost their moms to smoking and another 140 children are also expected to lose moms each year, according to the release,

“The Annual health care costs in Arkansas directly caused by smoking is estimated at $1.21 billion according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.”

According to the release, WBYD and other partners in the public health system emphasize the importance of community-based organizations and the valuable roles they play in reducing health disparities in underserved areas.

Details: WBYD, 870-263-1111, or or Facebook. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW to receive free help.