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Non-judgemental smoking campaign

NHS in Scotland launches television ad to help pregnant women kick the habit

A new advert will appear on television as part of a campaign launched by the NHS in Scotland to help pregnant women give up smoking. The ad will highlight the support available for women who remain addicted to nicotine during their pregnancy and will serve alongside a DVD which will be available free of charge.

While the key message in the campaign is that pregnant women should quit smoking as soon as possible, as smoking mothers are more likely to bring on premature birth, and even lose the baby, the approach will seek to offer help and reassurance, rather than ìmake them feel bad about themselvesî, said Carol Butler, a smoking cessation midwife.

She highlighted the importance of providing good advice for smoking mothers who are much more likely to have hospital admissions and who carry a greater risk of miscarriage. Babies born to smoking mothers are also much more likely to become ill or require special postnatal care. According to figures from 2004, around one quarter of mothers-to-be remain unable to kick the habit through pregnancy.

The campaign aims to reach these women by simply offering help, thereby bypassing the barrier that can often face people initially unwilling to try to quit because they feel forced to or obliged to from someone on what's perceived to be a `higher moral ground'.

ìNobody's going to judge them,î Butler added. ìAll the smoking cessation midwives across Scotland are here to provide information, so that women can make an informed choice.î

The programme manager for tobacco at NHS Health Scotland, Ann Kerr, advised any keen quitters to contact the Smokeline free of charge on 0800 848484, or visit www.canstopsmoking.com for more information on help and support services in Scotland.

2nd September 2008

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