Tobacco dependency team welcomes 101 ‘smoke-free’ babies in first year

Posted Friday, February 10, 2023 3:07 PM

Tobacco dependency team welcomes 101 ‘smoke-free’ babies in first year

You’ve heard of 101 Dalmatians – now meet one of the 101 babies born since a specialist team was launched to support pregnant women to quit smoking.

Emily Thompson, of Newark, - the 101st ‘smoke-free’ baby - was born at King’s Mill Hospital on Boxing Day 26 December 2022, weighing 6lb 2oz.

Her mum Martyna Franiasz (31) quit smoking in July when she was pregnant with Emily, thanks to support from Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ Phoenix Team – a maternity tobacco dependence treatment service.

Emily was presented with a black and white Dalmatian print hat at Newark Hospital on Friday 3 February 2023, at an appointment where it was confirmed her mum remained smoke-free six weeks since giving birth.

The appointment took place at the first Phoenix Team clinic held at Newark Hospital. The new clinic means families can have the option of face-to-face appointments at Newark as well as at King’s Mill, which will be more convenient and save the time and cost of travelling for those who prefer to see their advisor rather than receive support via telephone.

Martyna, who started smoking when she was 19 and smoked 10-20 cigarettes a day, had unsuccessfully tried to quit in the past. She said: “I’m really happy and proud of myself. I don’t want to start smoking again. My advisor Tanya has been amazing – I can’t thank the team enough for all they’ve done for us.”

Emily’s dad Adam Thompson (35) who works at Bakkavor Desserts in Newark, said: “We are really grateful. When I first heard about the service I asked how much it was and I couldn’t believe it was free.”

The service, which was set up at the end of 2021, helps mothers and birthing parents to give up smoking during pregnancy with support from trained tobacco dependence advisors and free nicotine replacement products. People can refer themselves or be referred by a health professional such as a midwife or doctor. A member of their household or close family, such as a partner, can also receive support to quit smoking if they wish.

In England, the rate of pregnant women and people smoking at the time of birth is 9.1%. At Sherwood Forest Hospitals, it’s 16.23%. Quitting smoking while pregnant reduces the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight, heart defects and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The average cost to the NHS of providing care during pregnancy and birth to a person who smokes is double that of a non-smoker due to the interventions required.

Claire Allison, Tobacco Dependence Maternity Lead at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “Smoking can cause serious health problems for mums and babies, and that’s why the support we provide is so vitally important. It can be difficult to stop smoking, but it's never too late to quit. Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do to give a child a healthy start - it immediately reduces the effects of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, and other damaging chemicals.

“It’s been an amazing first year for the service and we can’t believe we’ve welcomed 101 babies. We’re really excited to be able to extend our clinic to Newark Hospital, so that local residents can access the service more easily.

“We recognise that smoking in pregnancy is the result of addiction to nicotine, which requires treatment, so there’s no judgement or pressure – just free, friendly support that is tailored to each individual. Well done and congratulations to all the families who have already benefited from the Phoenix Team’s support.”

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