March 13th celebrates this year’s No Smoking Day, where everyone comes together to support smokers to quit and the launch of this year’s campaign, ‘Today is the Day’. As part of the campaign, Smokefree Sheffield is calling all adults and parents to help us achieve a Smokefree Generation by 2025. We know many people really want to quit smoking, but find it tough. Today is the day to start your journey and come quit with us at you local stop smoking service, Yorkshire Smokefree Sheffield, where we have a range of support available.
Key to a Smokefree Generation is supporting children, young people and families in the city to be smokefree. In collaboration with midwives, the children’s hospital and family centres, Smokefree Sheffield are promoting a range of campaigns to ensure babies are born free from the harmful effects of tobacco, children live in a smokefree environment and young people never start smoking in the first place.
Despite rates of smoking during pregnancy declining in recent years, Sheffield continues to stay above the national average, with 12% of women in Sheffield smoking during pregnancy compared to the national rate of 11% (ONS, 2018).
Following their move to become a smokefree site in 2018, visitors to Jessop Wing this year will be greeted by a series of floor vinyls highlighting the risk factors of continuing to smoke throughout pregnancy, exposure to secondhand smoke from others and promoting the benefits of quitting for mum, baby and the whole family.
This is the latest initiative of the smoking in pregnancy campaign, which aims to reduce the number of women smoking while pregnant and has been developed in collaboration with the Jessop Wing midwives.
Helen Baston, Consultant Midwife and Smoking Cessation Lead at the Jessop Wing, said:
“When a pregnant woman stops smoking she, her baby and her family get the benefits immediately. No longer exposed to carbon monoxide and the other harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, this means that the blood can take up more oxygen and this is particularly important for the growing baby.”
An accompanying leaflet aims to encourage quits with the inclusion of a 30-day quit calendar. Outlining the many health benefits that occur during the first 30 days of quitting smoking, the calendar serves as motivation for expectant parents or family members to stick to their quit plan.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield, said:
“We are so lucky in Sheffield to have a midwifery led stop smoking service with excellent advice and support available for women and families. When a new baby is coming in to the family, this is a great opportunity for family and friends to quit together with new mums to be.”
Following families into the home, the Smokefree Homes campaign aims to highlight the serious health risks of second-hand smoke around babies and children, and encourage parents to make the home a smokefree space for themselves and their children.
Research confirms that the home is now the main source of exposure to secondhand smoke for children, with 2 million children estimated to be regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in the home (ASH, 2014).
The initiative, promoted via a range of settings including maternity units, family centres, Sheffield Children’s NHS Trust and local primary schools through a competition, will not only provide helpful tips for keeping a smokefree home, but will also encourage children to draw their vision of a smokefree home in an attempt to motivate parents to quit and remain smokefree for their families.
“We know that children are more likely to become a smoker themselves if they grow up in a household with parents who smoke, so it’s vital that we encourage smokefree homes if we are to achieve our aim of inspiring a smokefree generation in Sheffield.” said Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council.
“Five children start smoking every day in Sheffield, and if we want to change the social norms around smoking for children and young people, we need to encourage positive changes from families and friends in the first instance. We want to help them understand the impact that smoking and second-hand smoke has on children and encourage them to quit using the range of stop smoking services they have access to, as well as support and advice on how to make the home smokefree”
As well as supporting annual No Smoking Day Smokefree Sheffield will be attending secondary schools and colleges in Sheffield alongside partner Zest Community Centre to speak to children, ahead of the launch of the Children and Young People campaign, which focuses on smoking prevention and cessation in 11-19 year olds.