New CDC Anti-Smoking Ad Features Mother From Eau Claire

Amanda Brenden, After Smoking While Pregnant, Gave Birth To 3-Pound Baby

A frame from a new CDC anti-smoking ad in which Amanda Brenden of Eau Claire shares a "tip from a former smoker."

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is running new anti-smoking ads, including one that features an Eau Claire mother whose child’s health was affected by her smoking.

The CDC’s “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign uses real people, not actors, in hard-hitting and graphic adverisements. This summer’s spots feature a smoker who lost all their teeth to gum disease, a man whose smoking contributed to a stroke, and an Eau Claire woman whose premature baby was born weighing 3 pounds.

At a news conference, Amanda Brenden said her baby, who had to be kept in intensive care, continues to have health problems.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“I did not get to hold her once she was born,” said Brenden. “At a young age, she developed asthma and allergies. She’s now 7 and takes multiple medications every day.”

Wisconsin has an anti-smoking program for pregnant woman called First Breath. Kathy Stewart, a University of Wisconsin assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology who works with the program, said mothers get encouragement to quit at each doctor’s visit. She also said that many mothers find quitting hard to do in a culture where smoking is the norm and during a difficult time of their lives.

“You’re asking one person to change in a period when it’s really a stressful time in their life,” said Stewart. “Pregnancy is associated with a lot of change.”

According to the UW-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives & Research, 13 percent of pregnant women in Wisconsin currently smoke. The national average is 10 percent.

Watch the ad featuring Brenden below: