Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Newcastle Stop Smoking Service – supporting pregnant women who smoke to quit

Newcastle Stop Smoking Service – supporting pregnant women who smoke to quit

22 February 2018

Newcastle Stop Smoking service is a free and confidential service for adults and young people. The service offers a 12 week programme to those living or working in Newcastle aged 11+. The 12 week programme consists of behavioural support alongside NRT treatment or Champix. The service aims to reduce the risk of smoking related illness by assisting local people to achieve their non-smoking goals.

In order to increase the number of referrals into the service and enhance the outcomes for pregnant women who smoke, the service developed a ‘smoking in pregnancy’ training programme.

The training has been delivered to midwives and maternity staff across Newcastle and aims to increase confidence among professionals in order to motivate pregnant women who smoke to set a quit date. The training commenced in July 2017 and is now part of the midwives’ ‘Statutory and Mandatory Training’.

The Brief Advice training and Smoking in Pregnancy training aim to raise awareness of the harms of smoking and the benefits of quitting and promote appropriate referrals. The intermediate training provides a comprehensive course of training for those who wish to provide stop smoking interventions to the population of Newcastle.

Impact to date

Training other providers to be stop smoking advisors and promoting brief advice among other professionals helps support performance in relation to national and local targets, as well as helping to motivate service users to engage with the service and successfully quit smoking. 

Since commencing the training, there has been an improvement in the numbers of pregnant women setting quit dates, along with the number of those successfully quitting.

As you can see from the figures below, in comparison with 2016-2017, there was a significant increase in the quit rate for pregnant women who smoke during both Q1 and Q2, with the number of referrals also increasing during Q2:

Q1 year-on year comparison

In Q1 2016-17: 72 pregnant women were referred to the service. 14 set a quit date and 1 successfully quit, giving a quit rate of 7.4%.

In Q1 2017-18: 69 pregnant women were referred to the service. 8 set a quit date and 4 successfully quit, giving a quit rate of 50%.

Q2 year-on year comparison

In Q2 2016-17: 57 pregnant women were referred to the service. 8 set a quit date and 3 successfully quit, giving a quit rate of 37.5%.

In Q2 2017-18: 71 pregnant women were referred to the service. 20 set a quit date and 12 successfully quit, giving a quit rate of 60%.

Feedback from training participants

“Very informative and helpful, this has given me confidence to discuss the impacts of smoking with women antenatal and refer them to smoking cessation.”

“Very informative some of the statistics were hard hitting highlighting the importance of smoking cessation.”

“It has enhanced my knowledge & awareness of different approaches when talking to women.”

Findings and next steps

Initial findings indicate that as a result of the collaborative work with the maternity departments in Newcastle and the ‘Smoking in Pregnancy’ training, the number of pregnant women who smoke engaging with the service has increased, as well as the overall number who successfully quit smoking.

Enhancement of the scheme is dependent on funding but areas for development include:

  • An awards scheme to provide a further incentive for women to stop smoking
  • Offering electronic cigarettes to encourage switching to vaping and therefore reduce risk
  • Providing group sessions for pregnant women to gain peer-led support
  • Establishing a digital support network to increase out of hours support