Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

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Smoking and your baby

Advice and support for parents and carers who smoke in the home.

Parents and carers in Nottinghamshire are being offered advice about smoking and their baby.

Here are three good reasons to quit:

  • For your baby now – reduced risk of sudden infant death (SIDS), chest infections, asthma and meningitis.
  • For your next pregnancy – quit now and you’ll have a much lower chance of miscarriage, stillbirth or having a premature or unwell baby.
  • For you – more energy, fewer illnesses, more money in your pocket and reduced risk of long term illness like cancer, lung or heart disease.

Here are some facts about smoking:

  • Quitting smoking is the most effective way to protect your child from the harms of secondhand smoke.
  • Two babies die suddenly every week in the UK because their mothers smoked during pregnancy or because they were exposed to tobacco smoke after birth.
  • Every year, exposure to secondhand smoke is responsible for 9,500 hospital admissions among children aged 14 and under in the UK.
  • It’s illegal to smoke in a private vehicle with someone under the age of 18.
  • There is lots of support available to help you quit.
  •  Quitting smoking could save you around £1600 a year, based on 11 cigarettes per day.

Why is having a smokefree home important?

Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and stays in the air for several hours after a cigarette has been put out. Quitting smoking completely is the best thing you can do for your baby. If you are unable to quit, smoking outside, away from the house, also decreases the risk that your baby could die suddenly or develop middle ear disease, chest infections or asthma.

Does it matter if other people in the family smoke?

You stand a better chance of quitting smoking and staying smokefree if your partner or family members also quit. If you are all successful your home will be free from cigarette smoke for your child. The children of non-smokers have fewer illnesses and they are less likely to become smokers themselves.

Can I get help to quit?

You are much more likely to quit successfully with the help of a trained stop smoking professional who can provide specialist support; medicines or nicotine replacement (NRT) products such as gum, patches or spray to help you deal with cravings; and advice about using e-cigarettes (vapes).

Can’t I just open my window?

Opening windows doesn’t protect your baby from secondhand smoke, as it’s invisible you won’t know how much smoke is still in the room. If you need to smoke you should take at least 7 steps outside to stop smoke drifting inside.

What if I’m not ready to quit completely?

Some people need to use other sources of nicotine to help them keep their home smokefree and/or as a complete replacement for smoking. You can use NRT or e-cigarettes to protect yourself and your baby from harmful cigarette smoke. There is currently no evidence of harm to those around you from exposure to e-cigarette vapour.

What should I expect from my health visitor or midwife?
You should be:

  • Provided with information about the risks of smoking and benefits of quitting for you and your baby.
  • Encouraged to remain smokefree and referred to a specialist stop smoking service where you can get help to quit.
  • Even if you are unable to quit smoking, your health visitor will let you know where to get NRT to help you keep your home smokefree.

Find support and local services at the Better Health: Quit Smoking website.

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Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Parentline. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health practitioner within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

  • Parents and carers of children aged 0-19:



Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 22-12-2023

This page will be next reviewed on 22-12-2026