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New support offered to mothers looking to quit smoking in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:38 14 March 2019

The number of women smoking at the time of delivery in Essex has increased, whereas numbers in Suffolk have declined. Picture: GEORGE DOYLE/GETTY

The number of women smoking at the time of delivery in Essex has increased, whereas numbers in Suffolk have declined. Picture: GEORGE DOYLE/GETTY

(c) George Doyle

A new initiative in Suffolk is encouraging mums to 'stub it out' by offering more support for those wanting to quit smoking this 'No Smoking Day'.

A new initiative is encouraging mums to ‘stub it out’ by offering more support for those wanting to quit smoking.

Quarterly data released by Public Health England shows a rise in the numbers of mothers smoking in north east Essex, compared to the lower numbers in both the Ipswich and East Suffolk area and West Suffolk.

Statistics showed that 15.6% of mothers were known to be smokers at the time of delivery in north east Essex, compared to the 7% in Ipswich and east Suffolk and the 10.2% in West Suffolk.

The national ambition for the percentage of mothers smoking is 6%, but the national average is still 10.5%.

Despite the low figure in east Suffolk, mums-to-be who plan to have their babies at Ipswich Hospital are being given extra support to ‘stub it out’ and help reduce the figure further.

The new initiative is part of the new stop smoking service, which is being highlighted after national ‘No Smoking Day’ on Wednesday March, 13.

The service sees specially-trained midwife Angela Leach, in partnership with OneLife Suffolk, offering support to women during routine appointments. Previously, they would have been referred to an external stop smoking provider for support.

This new service has been introduced as part of the national Saving Babies Lives programme, which aims to cut stillbirths by 20% by 2020.

A similar service is already in place at Colchester Hospital and the north east Essex CCG have similar midwifes in place.

A spokesman for the CCG said: “One of our providers at Colchester General Hospital, recognised it had a significantly high number of pregnant women smoking and so developed a dedicated midwife role to focus on supporting women to stop smoking during pregnancy.

“The percentage of women smoking during pregnancy dropped from 18.47% to under 12% from over a nine month period.”

Julie Newman, Stop Smoking in Pregnancy Lead at OneLife Suffolk, said: “Our team are trained to deliver a specialist, non-judgemental and supportive service to work with pregnant women and their family and friends to stop smoking.”

Doctor Amanda Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are pleased that the numbers of mothers smoking is decreasing and hope to see further improvement.”

Abi, who joined OneLife Suffolk in June 2018, wanted to stop smoking in preparation to start a family with her husband.

She said: “I wasn’t convinced I would be able to do it straight away, but to my surprise I had set my quit date within a week and felt ready for the challenge.”

Abi says that since quitting she feels more confident in social situations and copes better with stress. She even finds herself thinking - “what can I give up next?”

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