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Pregnant smokers’ perceptions of specialist smoking cessation services

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 October 2013

Sarah J. Butterworth*
Coventry University
Elizabeth Sparkes
Coventry University
Alison Trout
Solihull NHS Care Trust
Katherine Brown
Coventry University
Addresses for correspondence: Sarah J. Butterworth, MSc, Research Fellow in Youth Mental Health, Research and Innovation, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Radclyffe House, 66–68 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8PF. Email


Introduction: Women who continue to smoke during pregnancy are at risk of smoking-related diseases, maternity complications and expose the foetus to risks of perinatal mortality and morbidity. The number of women smoking at the time of delivery is estimated at 13.5% in England and 15.8% in the West Midlands. However, the prevalence can be elevated in certain areas, such as north Solihull.

Aims: This research consults past, current and non-users of specialist smoking cessation services and reports pregnant women's views of smoking cessation delivery and potential service developments.

Methods: Focus groups were conducted with 19 participants with experience of prenatal smoking.

Findings: Data was analysed using thematic analysis. The main themes included: (1) improving access to clear, sensitive information on smoking and pregnancy; (2) perceptions of existing services; (3) improving current services: the right delivery and the right person; and (4) encouraging participation of pregnant smokers.

Conclusions: In this area, pregnant smokers wanted easily-accessible, empathetic, non-judgemental and flexible support more than incentives or rewards to quit smoking. They also stated a preference for group cessation support as they believed that peer support would be advantageous.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2013 

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