Stop Smoking Services

Support to quit smoking before, during and after pregnancy

Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. It can be difficult to stop smoking, but it is never too late to quit.

The good news is, there is local stop smoking support alongside medication that can help you quit and it is safe to use before, during and after pregnancy.

Before Pregnancy

If you and your partner are planning for a baby and you both smoke, the sooner you quit smoking the better.

Did you know?

  • it can take smokers twice as long to fall pregnant compared to non-smokers
  • quitting smoking can improve the lining of the womb
  • smoking reduces the success rate of fertility treatment
  • women who smoke are twice as likely to be infertile as non-smokers.
  • men’s fertility can also be affected by smoking tobacco
  • it is ideal if you can stop smoking at least four months before getting pregnant but stopping at any point really helps
  • it is safe to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy and e-cigarettes for both you and your partner if you are trying to conceive, which can be obtained through your GP, Pharmacy or supporting vape shop

(Information retrieved from Tommy’s Charity for Babies)

For local support to help you quit, for more information.

The following link has more information on the affects smoking has on fertility.

During Pregnancy

Quitting smoking in pregnancy as soon as possible is one of the most crucial things you can do to significantly reduce the risks of health problems for you in your pregnancy and your baby.

Smoking in pregnancy harms babies before birth, during infancy and into childhood. The risks are:


  • miscarriage
  • placental abruption
  • stillbirth
  • birth defects


  • prematurity
  • low birth weight
  • sudden infant death syndrome
  • infections


  • chest and ear infections
  • learning difficulties
  • asthma
  • ADHD

Video about the harms from exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy:

During your first booking appointment with your Midwife, they will ask you a range of questions to help find out what care you need, which also includes if you and/or your partner smoke.

Your Midwife will then ask you to complete a Carbon Monoxide breath test, even if you are a non-smoker. Tobacco smoke contains Carbon Monoxide (CO) which is toxic, so your midwife will check your CO levels with a Breathalyzer. If your reading comes up at 4 and above ppm (parts per million), you are above the recommended exposure of Carbon Monoxide which can harm you and your baby. Click on the following link for more information on Carbon Monoxide Screening.

Second Hand Smoke

If you are a non-smoker but live with someone who smokes, second-hand (passive) smoke contains four thousand toxins which can also affect bystanders and women who are pregnant.

Therefore, we strongly advise pregnant women to live in a smokefree home and reduce your exposure to second hand smoke. Click on the following link to find out more information on second hand smoke during pregnancy.

What support is available?

You are three times more likely to stop smoking with the right support and medication. A lone quitter with no support has about a 3% chance of success.

At your booking appointment, your midwife will refer you to the Southend Stop Smoking service where a specialist will contact you stop smoking advisor to discuss your options.

Your advisor may also discuss stop smoking support for your partner, as you are likely to quit with the support of your partner, therefore quitting smoking together will significantly improve your chances of quitting smoking for good.

There are 3 Pathways of Support: Your GP Surgery, local participating pharmacy and supporting Vape Shop.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

You can obtain free combination nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) at your GP surgery or local participating pharmacy, as expectant mothers are free from prescription charges with a maternity exemption certificate which is valid during pregnancy and up to 12 months after your baby is born.

You will be recommended two products of NRT which will be a patch and an oral medication, as two products will improve your chances quitting for good. Click on the following link to find out more about NRT during pregnancy.

Your partner can also access NRT from their GP surgery or local participating pharmacy. (Prescription charges apply).

Free Vape starter kit to help pregnant women quit smoking.

To whom does this offer apply?

Pregnant women who are smoking and living in Southend-on-Sea. You must be over the age of 18 years old.

What do I get?

You will receive a vape starter kit with 12 weeks’ worth of e-juices and support. To receive your free vape kit, you will need to pop into our vape store (locations can be found further down the page) and commit to weekly or fortnightly walk-ins.

Is it safe?

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities ‘state,’ that e-cigarettes and vaping are 95% less harmful than smoking.

If using an e-cigarette helps you to stop smoking, it is much safer for you and your baby than continue to smoke. Find out more information on using e-cigarettes in pregnancy.

How do I apply?

Your Midwife will refer you to the Southend Stop Smoking service, where a specialist stop smoking advisor will contact you to discuss your options.

Can I cut down and still get a free vape?

No, this stop smoking programme will consist of committing to the ‘not a single puff’ rule so you will need to commit to quitting completely. During pregnancy, it is advised to quit completely and not cut down, as even one cigarette can be harmful to your baby. As part of the programme, you may take part in CO Monitoring to keep you on track.

I am pregnant but I haven’t been referred to the Stop Smoking Service, can I still apply?

Of course! Please attend our supporting vape shop and explain you are pregnant. Your advisor will then set you up on a 12 week quit programme.

I want to be free of nicotine, what can I do?

Your advisor will discuss with you your recommended nicotine dosage to start you off with, then over time you can reduce your nicotine intake and eventually be nicotine free!

My partner also smokes, can they get a free vape kit too?

Pregnant women who quit smoking with their partner as six times more likely to remain smokefree, so we highly recommend for partners who smoke to also quit. Partners can also obtain a free vape kit with support. Ask the advisor at the store for more details.

Supporting Vape Stores

Vapour Central
73 Hamlet Court Road
01702 437063

Vapour Central
1101 London Road
01702 470104

After pregnancy

New parents manage to stay smokefree after the baby is born, but some parents may go back to smoking which increases the risk of the baby being exposed to toxins found in second-hand smoke.

We understand there are certain triggers after pregnancy which can cause parents to go back to smoking but talking to your health visitor and planning will help. Find out more information to remain smokefree after pregnancy.

Stop Smoking Service

Telephone: 01702 212000

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