7 common myths about smoking

Smoking 'light' cigarettes is not better for the baby's health. Read about this and 6 more common myths about smoking in pregnancy.

Blackboard with the words 'myths' and 'facts' written on it.

Myth 1: It's not a big deal. My parents smoked in pregnancy and I'm fine.

Your parents probably did not know the risk they were taking. Smoking during pregnancy is thought to be the cause of 40% of baby deaths. It increases your risk having a miscarriage or premature birth. The risks to your baby are serious.

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Myth 2: Quitting will stress me out and harm the baby more.

Not true. Smoking in pregnancy is much more harmful to the baby than any stress that may come with quitting.

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Myth 3: A small baby will make labour easier.

This is not true. Having a smaller weaker baby does not mean that you will have an easier birth and your baby may have to stay in hospital after they are born.

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Myth 4: I'm several months along. Is it too late to give up?

No it is not too late. Quitting smoking at any time is the best thing you can do for your baby. Every day you don't smoke is one day less of toxins for your baby.

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Myth 5: I've switched to the lightest version of my cigarettes. This must be safer.

This is not true. So called 'lighter' cigarettes are not safer. No matter what the makers tell you, cigarettes whether regular, light or ultra-light can cause a lot of harm to your baby. You will be inhaling the same amount of deadly substances into your body.

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Myth 6: I just don't have the willpower to quit.

You don't need to rely on willpower alone. Joining a stop smoking group, talking to a counsellor Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and prescription medications can really increase your chances of success.

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Myth 7: The baby is protected in the womb.

This is not true. The poisons from the cigarette smoke move through the placenta into your baby's bloodstream. It means your baby gets less oxygen, which can affect their development.

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More about smoking in pregnancy


  1. Royal College of Physicians Nicotine Addiction in Britain. 2000
  2.  Yard, Neal L (2001)  Compensatory Smoking of Low-Yield Cigaretteshttp://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/tcrb/monographs/13/m13_3.pdf
  3.  NICE (2008) Smoking cessation services, NICE public health guidance 10http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/PH010guidance.pdf
  4. Nash JE and Persaud TVN (1998) Experimental Pathology 33:65-73: Embryopathic risks of cigarette smoking. 1998
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    Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.

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