10 great reasons to quit smoking

Stopping smoking now will make a big difference to your health and the health of your baby. Here are 10 great reasons to quit.

The earlier you give up smoking in pregnancy, the more likely it is that these will apply to you and your baby.

  1. You will reduce your baby’s risk of stillbirth. Smoking while pregnant is the biggest risk factor for stillbirth.
  2. Your baby will be less likely to be born prematurely. If your baby is born prematurely, they will be too sick to go home after birth and will have to stay in hospital.
  3. Your baby is more likely to be a healthy weight at birth.
  4. You will reduce your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Smoking while pregnant is the biggest risk factor for babies to die unexpectedly after birth. Around 1 in 3 babies’ lives could be saved from sudden infant death if parents didn’t smoke.
  5. Your child will have a lower risk of health problems, such as asthma and lung infections. Poisons and chemicals in smoke can damage your unborn baby’s lungs, which can affect them throughout their life.
  6. Your child is less likely to become a smoker and more likely to live longer. On average, non-smokers live 10 years longer than smokers.
  7. You'll be less stressed. Smokers suffer nicotine withdrawal symptoms every time their nicotine levels get too low. This is why they feel the urge to smoke.
  8. Your home will smell fresher.
  9. Your breath, clothes and hair won't smell of smoke.
  10. You'll save money. An average smoker could save up to £3,000 a year by stopping. 

Can I just cut down rather than quit?

Even low levels of smoking are harmful to your pregnancy. For example, smoking fewer cigarettes does not reduce the risk of premature birth or low birth-weight.

Low-tar or low nicotine cigarettes and roll ups are also just as harmful to you and your baby’s health. Quitting smoking completely is the best way to keep you and your baby safe from the dangers of cigarette smoke.

Can I smoke e-cigarettes instead?

E-cigarettes (e-cigs or vapes) have become a popular way to help smokers quit the habit. But e-cigarettes are still quite new, so there is not enough research into their long-term safety. Find out more about using e-cigarettes in pregnancy.

Stocks, J & Dezateux, C (2003) The Effect of Parental smoking on Lung Function and Development During Infancy. Respirology, 8, 266-285.

Royal College of Physicians (1992) Smoking and the young. Fleming P, Blair PS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and parental smoking. Early Human Development. 2007;83:721-725 RCP 2010, Passive Smoking and Children, Soc Sci Med. 2005 Mar;60(5):1071-85, https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/sites/default/files/legacy/documents/passive-smoking-and-children.pdf

Petrou et al (2005) The association between smoking during pregnancy and hospital inpatient costs in childhood. Social Science and Medicine. 2005 Mar;60(5):1071-85.

NHS Choices. Stop smoking in pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/smoking-pregnant/ (Page last reviewed: 07/11/2019. Next review due: 07/11/2022)

British Medical Association (2014) Smoking and reproductive life; The impact of smoking on sexual, reproductive and child health, page 14 https://www.rauchfrei-info.de/fileadmin/main/data/Dokumente/Smoking_ReproductiveLife.pdf

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). Use of e-cigarettes (vaporisers) among adults in Great Britain. 2019. Available online: https://ash.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Use-of-e-cigarettes-among-adults-2019.pdf

Review dates
Reviewed: 23 January 2020
Next review: 23 January 2023

This content is currently being reviewed by our team. Updated information will be coming soon.