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NHS campaign urges pregnant women to stop smoking

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The effect each cigarette has on a baby's ability to absorb oxygen will be highlighted in an NHS campaign aimed at getting pregnant women to stop smoking

The advertising drive from NHS Smokefree will target mothers-to-be who find it tough to give up by reminding them that a baby's heart has to beat harder every time a pregnant woman smokes.

One in five pregnant women in England are smokers, or about 100,000 women at any one time.

A survey of expectant mothers who smoke found 28% would like to seek help to quit but are worried about being judged.

Dr Miriam Stoppard, who is backing the campaign, said they often hide their habit rather than asking for help to quit because they feel that they will be criticised.

She added: "Pregnancy can be a particularly difficult time to stop smoking - and rather than stigmatising these women, we should be guiding them to their local NHS Stop Smoking Service for expert advice and support to help them quit."

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