Smoking during pregnancy is a troubling public health issue in England. In 2015, an average of 11% of mothers were smoking at the time of delivery, a figure which ranged between 2% and 26% across different regions of Britain. With numbers like these, the Royal College of Midwives is embracing every tool in the kit to help pregnant women quit smoking, including ecigarettes.

To educate midwives further about ecigarettes, the Royal College of Midwives is offering new educational resources on ecigarettes and pregnancy.

Infographic and pamphlet for midwives and health professionals

The Royal College of Midwives is one of the groups represented in the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group. Other organisations involved in this initiative include Action on Smoking and Health and The Lullaby Trust. The group has produced two resources for midwives:

  1. An infographic on Ecigarettes in Pregnancy

  2. A briefing for health professionals, Use of Ecigarettes in Pregnancy

Online training module and seminar in January 2017

The Royal College of Midwives has launched its own online training module about smoking and pregnancy for members of the College, and will be hosting a webinar on January 11, 2017 in which Professor Linda Bauld of the University of Stirling will discuss the use of ecigarettes in pregnancy.

Midwives who want to sign up for the webinar can do so by emailing the address at the bottom of this post.

Nicotine patches and gum are “safest”, but ecigarettes “safer than smoking”

In the written materials, the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group recommends nicotine patches and gum as the safest tobacco cessation products to use, but states that ecigarettes are still much safer than smoking.

“If using an ecigarette helps you
stay smokefree, it is much safer for
you and your baby than smoking”

-Infographic, Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group

The materials also say that while little research has been done on the effects of ecigarette use in pregnancy, e-cigarettes are likely to be “significantly less harmful” than smoking cigarettes.

No amount of smoking is acceptable

All of the materials make it clear that even one cigarette can cause damage to both mother and baby. If pregnant women stop smoking early in the pregnancy, they are much less likely to cause significant damage to the baby, but quitting at any time during the pregnancy reduces the risk to the child.

The Royal College of Midwives is sending a very clear signal that the relative harm of e-cigarettes is minimal when compared to cigarettes, and that pregnant women must use every means at their disposal to quit smoking.