Campaign aims to stub out smoking during pregnancy

PREGNANT women who smoke will be targeted under a new campaign from the North Coast Area Health Service.

Almost 14 per cent of mothers across NSW smoked during the second half of their pregnancy in 2005.

But the situation was worse on the North Coast, where 22.9 per cent of women smoked while they were pregnant.

It is these statistics which health officials want to reduce with the new Smoke Free Pregnancy Strategy 2008-2013.

Tobacco action co-ordinator Ros Tokley said quitting before falling pregnant was the 'best thing a mother could do'.

But mums-to-be aren't the only ones being urged to stop smoking - their partners should give up as well, Ms Tokley said.

“It became obvious that we needed to do something,” she said.

“Quitting can reduce the problems of low birth weight and other side-effects.

“We have to be vigilant with the message. Smoking is addictive, but it is also a poison and it can kill you.

“Smoke-free environments are so important for babies.”

Effects of smoking while pregnant can include increased incidence of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and SIDS, asthma and behavioural problems later in life.

New research has also found it could increase the risk of the child developing a life-threatening cancer.

“Women and mothers wanting assistance to quit smoking should phone the Quitline on 13 78 48, or see their general practitioner,” Ms Tokley said.

She said parents should quit smoking for the long-term because they could still expose their children to 'harmful' second-hand smoke and make them 'more likely' to become smokers themselves.

If you're trying to quit, these organisations can help:
Cancer Institute NSW
Cancer Council NSW

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