Mothers who smoke during pregnancy will be given incentives to “kick the habit” as part of a package of increased support being launched by Somerset County Council to mark World No Tobacco Day, May 31.
Let’s Kick It Together, a campaign from the Mums2Be Smokefree Service and the NHS, aims to reduce smoking before, during and after pregnancy.
It provides expectant parents and their significant others with support and financial incentives to kick the habit, including a personal Stop Smoking Practitioner, free support and treatment when needed, and a new My Quit Route App in a drive to reduce the percentage of people who smoke during pregnancy in the county.
Tracey Hellyar, Team Leader of Mums2Be Smokefree, said: “Kicking the habit can have benefits for the whole family, both before and after birth.
“Children born to smokefree parents and a smokefree home are less likely to develop serious diseases such as asthma and are less likely to suffer with long-term health problems including reduced lung capacity and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
“The aim of the campaign is to create a sense of ‘togetherness’ by focusing not only on the mother, but also her support and health provider networks.”
Expectant mum Hayley, who had smoked since she was a teenager, joined the Mums2Be Smokefree Service. She said: “My practitioner, Tracey, was my ‘help to quit’ practitioner, and I couldn’t believe how understanding she was at times when I felt I couldn’t give up.
“Within a few weeks I had completely stopped smoking and also stopped wearing patches. Knowing I was keeping my unborn baby safe made the whole thing worth it.
“From someone who smoked a pack of 20 a day, I never thought I’d be capable of giving up. I thank the service tremendously for everything they have done for me and my soon to be little girl.”
The ongoing campaign will offer pregnant parents free gum and patches to help them quit; support from an expert who has helped others kick the habit; and support for any significant other wanting to stop.
Kate Beaumont, Public Health Lead Midwife, commented: “Stopping smoking is one of the most important things that someone who is pregnant can do to improve the chances of having a healthy baby, it also has a positive impact on health for the whole family.
“Maternity services in Somerset are working closely with the stop smoking service to support those in our care to have smoke free pregnancies and homes, the service is having a positive impact on our families across the County.”