d doesn’t help women quit smoking, according to a study.
The study shows that nearly 90 percent of pregnant smokers were still using cigarettes when their babies were born.
Most women smokers quit spontaneously when they find out they are pregnant. But researchers from the University of Nottingham and the University of York found that only a “minority” of women who tried to quit during pregnancy were successful in maintaining abstinence to the end of pregnancy. About 87 percent of pregnant women who attended stop-smoking services were still smoking when their babies were born.
The study also found more than 40 percent of women who give up smoking during pregnancy start again within six months of giving birth.
The report said: “Most pregnant smokers do not achieve abstinence from smoking while they are pregnant, and among those that do, most will restart smoking within six months of childbirth. This would suggest that despite large amounts of healthcare expenditure on smoking cessation, few women and their offspring gain the maximum benefits of cessation.”
The report has led to questions over the effectiveness of Stop Smoking services to cater for pregnant smokers.
Lead author Dr Matthew Jones, from the University of Nottingham, said: “Our report reveals a wide gulf between what pregnant women need to quit smoking and what our healthcare services provide.”
Public health authorities had hoped that a strong message in the last two decades calling on women to give up smoking while pregnant could have had longer-term benefits for mothers.
However, according to new data from 27 stop-smoking trials involving nearly 600 women, this is often not the case.
Women who take up smoking after a break during pregnancy are exposing their children to passive smoking and also increasing the likelihood their children will smoke, says the study in the journal Addiction.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health, said: “While it’s vital that pregnant smokers quit to give their baby the best start in life, the risk of serious harm from smoking doesn’t disappear once the baby is born. And all smokers in the home need to be encouraged to quit, or at least not to expose the baby to tobacco smoke, as whoever or wherever it comes from, tobacco smoke increases the risks of breathing problems and sudden infant death.”
Almost 19 000 pregnant smokers in England used NHS stop-smoking services during 2014/15, according to data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.