Smoking cessation success for mums-to-be in Buckinghamshire

Date: 14/03/2024 | Category: News 2024

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust’s maternity department has taken action to reduce rates of smoking in pregnancy and in June 2023 established an in-house Stop Smoking Service.

Evidence shows that pregnant women who smoke are nearly a third more likely to suffer miscarriage and have double the likelihood of stillbirth compared with those who don’t smoke. Smoking in pregnancy can also impact the new-born baby, as the risk of sudden infant death (cot death) is nearly three times higher for these babies than it is for those who were not exposed to smoking in pregnancy.

All women are routinely asked their smoking status at their first midwife appointment. As of January 2024, over 92% of women were offered and consented to Carbon Monoxide (CO) screening which is an increase from 77% in May 2023.

100% of those identified as current smokers or those who quit smoking at conception receive an opt-out referral to the Tobacco Dependency Advisor (TDA) for behavioural support and the provision of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and/or e-cigarettes. Prior to the launch of the in-house service, only 28% of women who smoked were referred to a third party for support to stop smoking.

The TDA, Emily, offers service-users individualised support (including reaching out to service-users who do not speak English as their first language) and goes above and beyond to ensure that those who engage with the service can access her support. This includes meeting service-users after their hospital appointments or even at their GP surgery to prevent them having to make an extra trip to see her.

In 2023, only 5.01% of those of birthed their baby in the Trust were current smokers at delivery (compared to 8.8% nationally). This is a significant reduction to 2021, when 6.22% of those of birthed their baby in the Trust were current smokers at delivery.

Emily also provides maternity staff with education around the importance of smoke free pregnancies, CO screening, the provision of Very Brief Advice and the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning.

Director of Midwifery, Michelle East said: “In the 9 months since the launch of the in-house Stop Smoking Service, we have seen an increase in the number of women who have quit smoking or want to receive help to give up. Emily’s dedication to the service is invaluable and she is, without doubt, making a positive impact on the local community with her work.”