Pregnant women in Tower Hamlets could be offered pregnancy yoga, weekly pamper sessions and other incentives to stop smoking.
Quit Right, a service working in partnership with Tower Hamlets which enables people to quit smoking, has released a survey and begun clinic sessions to identify what actions could enable pregnant women to give up cigarettes.
The survey questions participants on a number of aspects of the quitting process including what ‘extras’ would entice them to stop smoking. Along with the typical offers of nicotine replacement patches and gum, the survey suggests weekly pregnancy yoga, weekly pamper sessions, including mini manicure, or incentive vouchers.
Shamsia Begum, service manager for Quit Right, sad: “As a stop smoking service, the uptake of pregnant women coming into the service in general is quite low. So, we thought, how do we make our service appealing, would they like to come along and just spend an hour to unwind? We can get a pregnancy yoga therapist, we can offer a massage or pamper sessions, where we do some nail polish whilst they talk about why they want to give up.”
She added: “It’s not something that we are doing currently but we’re going to recap the survey in the first week of January to see what the responses are and then follow up from that.”
The pregnancy sessions, funded by the Tower Hamlets Vanguard Partnership scheme, are available in group form or on a 1:1 basis and take place at the main clinic located on Stayner’s Road, Stepney Green and other clinics across the borough. They provide pregnant smokers with advice, support, products and education on the quitting process.
Begum said: “We are also trialling the gift of a disposable e-cigarette with a small population of low-income smokers. On top of that, we are looking to partner with local vape shops to give a special offer to our clients. The shops are also offering free carbon monoxide readings at week 1 and at week 5 to show people what a difference it has made.”
Smoke Free Action, a smoke free action coalition group, said an e-cigarette is safer than smoking and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is safe to use in pregnancy, but pregnant-women should stop smoking entirely to remove any health risk for the baby.
Quit Right focus on debunking myths; they said a lot of women who come to them for help are worried that the stress of quitting will be more damaging to the baby’s health than continuing to smoke.
Begum said: “A lot of people have this concern that nicotine replacement products like patches and gum will affect their baby but smoking contains over 4000 chemicals, which is much worse, so you’ve got to look at it all and balance it.”
A study by the Royal College of Physicians shows that second hand smoke results in 22,000 new cases of asthma in children and 40 sudden unexpected deaths in infancy every year. It also shows that smoking can cause babies to be at risk of low birth weight, premature birth and childhood illness, whilst increasing risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.
To make an appointment, you should ask your GP or health professional to refer you to the service, or contact them on 020 78828230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.