West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) has launched a new campaign today, Monday 30 January, to create awareness and support for pregnant women wanting to quit smoking.
The campaign highlights tobacco use as the leading preventable cause of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal deaths. Despite these risks being well told, according to NHS research 8.8% of UK mothers were smokers at the time of delivery. For West Yorkshire, the figure is higher at 11.5%.
The data shows only 50% of pregnant women who smoke are motivated to stop without wider incentive or intervention. The campaign, which focuses on younger women aged 18-25, aims to ensure those that want help, know how to access it.
Robin Tuddenham, CEO for Calderdale Council and co-chair of the WY HCP’s Improving Population Health Programme said: “We are committed as a health and care partnership to doing all we can to support pregnant women who want to stop smoking. Evidence has shown that babies born to smokers experience health effects that extend into childhood, for example low birth weight, weak lungs, more sick days and asthma – many things that can be prevented. This campaign aims to reduce the number of young mums known to be smokers at the time of delivery by providing the right support at the earliest stages possible. It’s never too late – every day makes a difference to both mum and baby’s health.”
Dr James Thomas, Medical Director, NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and co-chair for WY HCP’s Improving Population Health Programme said: “All forms of tobacco are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. As the leading preventable cause of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal deaths we must continue to do more across our region to ensure those that want help, know how to access it. We hope that many pregnant women will find support to help them to stop smoking by visiting: www.mums-can.co.uk.
Diane Tinker, Director of Midwifery and Women’s Services, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, said: “Local insight has helped us to develop this new campaign and understand more about what breaking the habit really means for local women. Mums Can is a local website which signposts pregnant women to free, friendly, non-judgemental support, safer alternatives and proven techniques to help them make a change. There are safe replacements for smoking during pregnancy and stopping helps immediately, it’s never too late to quit.”
The NHS Long Term plan sets out that by 2023/24, all people admitted to hospital who smoke will be offered NHS-funded tobacco treatment services. As part of the NHS ambition for a smokefree generation, the model will be adapted for pregnant women and their partners. The approach includes a new smokefree pregnancy pathway with focused sessions and treatments.
The resources can be used across various channels – in person and virtually, such as WhatsApp groups, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, in workplaces, community groups and elsewhere by downloading them at www.mums-can.co.uk .
All are available at www.mums-can.co.uk.