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Pregnant women told to stop smoking

A new advertising campaign is to target pregnant women who find it difficult to stop smoking, it has been announced.

The effect that each cigarette has on restricting essential oxygen to a baby will be highlighted in the NHS Smokefree campaign.

It will show how a baby's heart is forced to beat harder every time a pregnant woman smokes just to get the same amount of oxygen circulating round the body and to the brain.

Estimates show that at any one time, 100,000 women in England are smoking while pregnant; this is one in five expectant mothers.

A poll of more than 2,000 adults found that 49% disapprove of pregnant women who smoked.

Backing the campaign, Dr Miriam Stoppard said: "Pregnant women who smoke do not automatically find it easy to stop smoking as soon as they become pregnant, often hiding their smoking rather than asking for help to quit, because they feel that they will be criticised.

"Pregnancy can be a particularly difficult time to stop smoking - and rather than stigmatising these women, we should be guiding them to their local NHS Stop Smoking Service for expert advice and support to help them quit."

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