National guidance and policy

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This page provides an overview of national guidance and policy relating to smoking in pregnancy.

Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group Reports

The Challenge Group has produced four reports reviewing the progress made in reducing smoking in pregnancy in England. These reports provide a useful overview of the policy landscape at the time of publication and make recommendations to reduce the rate of smoking in pregnancy.

Guidance and policy

NICE guidance providing the evidence-based model for smoking cessation support within maternity settings:

The Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle Version 2 (2019) – ‘Element 1: Reducing smoking in pregnancy’ recommends carbon monoxide (CO) testing of all pregnant women at antenatal booking appointment; CO testing a 36 weeks; referral to a stop smoking service/specialist based on an opt out system; and training on CO monitor use and Very Brief Advice (VBA) for all relevant maternity staff. An evaluation of the Care Bundle found that stillbirths fell by a fifth at maternity units where the guidance was implemented, saving more than 160 babies’ lives. You can read the NHS press release here. Version 1 of the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle can be accessed here.

The NHS Long Term Plan, published January 2019,  includes a commitment to deliver an opt-out smokefree pregnancy pathway including focused sessions and treatments for expectant mothers and their partners. Areas with the greatest level of need will be prioritised with a commitment to support 600,000 people to quit over the next five years. The press release which includes a quote from Dr Clea Harmer, co-chair of the Challenge Group, can be found here.

The 2017 Tobacco control plan for England includes an ambition to reduce rates of smoking in pregnancy to 6% or less by 2022.  The Plan further commits Government to a number of specific actions including commitments to embed CO Screening in Maternity Services Data Set and to take further action via the Maternity Transformation Programme.

Response to inquiry on e-cigarettes

In December 2017 the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group submitted its response to the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology Inquiry into e-cigarettes. You can read the submission here and learn more about the inquiry here.