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Nearly half of women who stop smoking during pregnancy go back to smoking soon after baby is born


A major new review published today by the scientific journal Addiction reveals that in studies testing the effectiveness of stop-smoking support for pregnant women, nearly half (43%) of the women who managed to stay off cigarettes during the pregnancy went back to smoking within 6 months of the birth.

While not smoking during pregnancy is very important, there is an urgent need to find better ways of helping mothers stay of cigarettes afterwards.

Approximately 18,887 pregnant smokers in the UK (3% of all maternities) used NHS stop-smoking support in the financial year 2014/15.1,2 This represents a considerable investment.

Lead author Dr Matthew Jones says, "Smoking during pregnancy is a major global public health issue: a conservative estimate for the annual economic burden in the UK is £23.5 million and in the US $110 million. Our report reveals a wide gulf between what pregnant women need to quit smoking and what our healthcare services currently provide."


The research team that produced the report is from the University of Nottingham and works as part of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research programme.

1 Health and Social Care Information Centre. Statistics of Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery: England Quarter 4, 2014/15. 2015.
2 Health and Social Care Information Centre. Statistics of NHS Stop Smoking Services, England - April 2014 to March 2015. 2015.

For editors:

Jones M, Lewis S, Parrott S, Wormall S, and Coleman T (2016) Restarting smoking in the postpartum period after receiving a smoking cessation intervention: A systematic review. Addiction 111: doi:10.1111/add.13309

This paper is free to download for one month after publication from the Wiley Online Library: or by contacting Jean O'Reilly, Editorial Manager, Addiction,, tel +44 (0)20 7848 0853.

Interviews with lead author Dr Matthew Jones can contact him at the University of Nottingham (UK) by email ( or telephone (+44 01158 466 919).

Addiction is a monthly international scientific journal publishing peer-reviewed research reports on alcohol, illicit drugs, tobacco, and gambling as well as editorials and other debate pieces. Owned by the Society for the Study of Addiction, it has been in continuous publication since 1884. Addiction is the number one journal in the 2015 ISI Journal Citation Reports Ranking in the Substance Abuse Category (Social Science Edition).

The study was funded by the NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research programme (Grant Reference Number: RP-PG 0109-10020).

About the NIHR:

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR is the research arm of the NHS. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government's strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (

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