The UK’s Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said that pregnant women who are unable to quit smoking should be offered financial incentives to help them achieve the goal.
The study analyzed survey data from 1.3 million women aged 15 to 49 in 42 lower- to middle-income countries. A total of 80,454 women amongst the participants were pregnant, and their tobacco use behaviour was compared to that of the non-pregnant participants.
The research team found that the pregnant women were “seven per cent more likely to use smokeless tobacco than non-pregnant women.” Study author Radha Shukla, a doctoral candidate at the department of health sciences, University of York, UK, said that the situation in South-East Asia contrasts with that in high-income countries where tobacco use is lower among pregnant women.
“This is of particular concern and raises the need to develop tailor-made interventions to help women reduce or quit tobacco use…especially when pregnant…because of adverse pregnancy outcomes,”said Shukla. “This includes not only cigarette smoking but also the use of smokeless tobacco, which is often chewed, snuffed or applied locally in the oral cavity.”
Pregnant smokers should be provided with “opt-out smoking cessation services”
Meanwhile, the UK’s Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said that pregnant women who are unable to quit smoking should be offered financial incentives to help them achieve the goal. The RCP said that at any point of contact with the NHS, smokers should be provided with “opt-out smoking cessation services.” Moreover, said the group, bearing in mind that most smokers are often from “lower socio-economic groups”, pregnant women should be given financial incentives to motivate them in achieving the goal.
These suggestions were put forward as part of a report compiled by the RCP, addressing what can be done to achieve the government’s “Smoke Free 2030” target. Sadly recent data has indicated that as it stands the goal will not actually be achieved until 2050.
“The ability of the UK and other countries to rise to major public health challenges is beyond doubt; the Covid-19 pandemic, by far the biggest new challenge to UK and global health in decades, has attracted a public health and economic response of a scale unique in the modern era,” read the report. “Yet in 2020, when Covid-19 killed around 80,000 UK citizens, tobacco smoking killed 94,000.”
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