Support available to help mums-to-be to quit smoking

​Date: 24/1/2017
Ref: PR 8463 

A young mum who gave up smoking in pregnancy is urging others to seek help to give their baby the best start in life.

Wakefield Council, which manages Public Health in the district, is highlighting a specialist stopping smoking service in a drive to encourage more mums-to-be to access free, non-judgmental help from trained professionals. Exposure to cigarette smoke in the womb causes health problems and can even put babies’ lives at risk.

Kat Ferguson, aged 27, had been a smoker for more than ten years, but decided it was time to stop after becoming pregnant with her twins, daughter Lianee and son Raken, now aged three and half.

The mum-of-three from Featherstone, said: “I had tried to stop smoking before, but it didn’t work. Being pregnant gave me the extra motivation to give up, as I felt if I didn’t do it now, I may never do it at all."

Kat, who now also has a baby daughter Nia, was supported by a team of nurses who care for women in pregnancy and used nicotine replacement gum to help ease the cravings.
She said: “There were times when it was difficult, but I knew there were risks to the babies from smoking, so that gave me the extra will to want to stop. The team were friendly, they didn’t judge me and I could not have given up without their support. I’d encourage other women to ask for help.”

Smoking levels in Wakefield are beginning to fall, but 20 percent of the adult population still smoke. And the level in Wakefield is higher than than the national average of 18 percent.
Smoking raises the risk of developing heart and lung disease as well as 16 different types of cancer.

Babies exposed cigarette smoke in the womb are more likely to be premature, are often born smaller than average. They are more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death). They are also at greater risk of health problems at birth and when they are older.

Cllr Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “Giving up smoking is one of the best things anyone can do to improve their health, that’s why I’m supporting this campaign. It’s great that Kat has succeeded in giving up smoking and I’d encourage others to seek help.”

Dr Andrew Furber, Wakefield Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “The facts are stark. Smoking harms unborn babies, causes health problems and can even put their lives at risk.
“Women who give up smoking in pregnancy are helping themselves and giving their child the best start in life. We want to inspire a smoke free generation. I would also urge anyone else in the household who smokes to seek help to give up so their child can avoid the risks associated with cigarette smoking.”

For more information pregnant women can ring the specialist Yorkshire Smokefree service on 01977 465549 or visit www.yorkshiresmokefree@nhs.uk The website has advice and information suitable for all smokers.

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