Review decision: 

This guideline was reviewed in August 2015 and will be partially updated.

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Next review: To be scheduled

NICE says all pregnant women who smoke – and all those who are planning a pregnancy or who have an infant aged under 12 months – should be referred for help to quit smoking.

The eight recommendations in this guideline include advice on:

  • How NHS professionals and others working in the public, community and voluntary sectors can identify women (including teenagers) who smoke when they attend an appointment or meeting.
  • How to refer them to NHS Stop Smoking Services (or the equivalent).
  • How NHS Stop Smoking Services staff (and staff from equivalent, non-NHS services) should contact and support all women who have been referred for help.
  • How to help their partners or ‘significant others’ who smoke.
  • When and how nicotine replacement therapy and other pharmacological support should be offered.
  • Training for professionals.

This guideline was previously called quitting smoking in pregnancy and following childbirth.

It is for NHS and other commissioners, managers and practitioners who have a direct or indirect role in, and responsibility for, helping women to stop smoking when pregnant and following childbirth. This includes those working in: local authorities,education and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors.

It may also be of interest to women who:

  • are planning a pregnancy
  • are pregnant
  • have an infant aged up to 12 months (as well as their partners and families and other members of the public).

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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