Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Anti-poverty commission achieves breakthrough to combat smoking in pregnancy


16 January 2017
Food bank The Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission today reveals that it has bucked a national trend by helping hundreds of pregnant mothers quit smoking during pregnancy, thereby improving their immediate financial circumstances and boosting their babies’ longer term health prospects.

The Commission trialled a ‘Quit Buddy and Stress Relief’ project in Halton and Knowsley between January 2015 and August 2016. An evaluation of the trial shows that the proportion of pregnant women setting a 4-week quit date was higher in both boroughs (42.9%) than the previous year (40.5%) – nationally there was a year-on-year decline in the numbers of pregnant women setting 4-week quit dates. Moreover, of the 271 who set a 4-week quit date, it was pregnant women with the lowest incomes who were most likely to benefit from the trial.

The project has simultaneously helped both boroughs achieve a significant year-on-year decline in smoking prevalence at the time of babies’ delivery; by 2.2% in Halton and 4% in Knowsley. Both boroughs have exceeded the average reduction of 1.7% across Cheshire and Merseyside.

The Commission is now planning to extend the trial across the remainder the Liverpool City Region, so that the gains can be delivered to more of the Region’s most disadvantaged families.

Commenting on today’s breakthrough, the Commission’s Chair, Frank Field MP said: ‘Here is an intervention which has the potential to revolutionise the financial circumstances and health prospects of our poorest families. A most rewarding aspect of the feedback we have received on the intervention has been from new mums feeling so pleased about being able to use the money they would have spent on cigarettes, to buy decent food and clothes instead for their babies.’  


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