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Smoking during pregnancy

As a general rule I don't comment about smoking during pregnancy unless I'm asked to.

Even then I think very carefully about it and sometimes decline. I'm just not comfortable talking about something that, as a man, is none of my business.

In fact, it's no-one's business except the woman concerned.

If push comes to shove I'd say that pregnant women should listen to their GP or midwife but the decision ultimately rests with the individual and no-one should be put under pressure to quit.

Smoking during pregnancy certainly shouldn't be made illegal, as it is in some US states.

I might also point out that in the Fifties 48 per cent of women smoked – many of them during pregnancy – yet the generation of babies born at that time is living longer than any generation in history.

The two aren't linked, of course, and I accept that advances in medical treatment are partly responsible for people living longer, healthier lives.

Nevertheless, if smoking during pregnancy is as dangerous as the public health establishment would have us believe, one might expect to see far more evidence of harm – within that generation in particular.

Anyway, I was asked last night to comment on a story, the gist of which was that the Royal College of Midwives Wales wants more money to help pregnant women quit smoking and manage their weight.

The crucial word here is 'money' because everyone wants more, especially if the taxpayer is paying. Hence my response:

"Ask the general public and many people would say this is not the best use of taxpayers' money.

"Most people want government to invest in new doctors and nurses, reduce waiting times in A&E, and address care for the elderly.

"Tackling smoking is not a top priority for most people because the health risks are already well known, and if women choose to ignore advice about smoking while pregnant that's a matter for them not government."

Full story: Midwives in cash call to cut smoking in pregnant women (BBC News Wales).

The only thing I'd add – not to this story but to a wider discussion on smoking while pregnant – is something that struck me during the abortion referendum debate in Ireland.

If, as many believe, a woman should have the right to abort a child because it's her body, surely the same argument applies to smoking during pregnancy?

I don't want to spell it out, but the impact of smoking whilst pregnant is hardly on the same scale as an abortion, not even close.

And yet, I'm prepared to wager, many people who correctly, in my opinion, support a woman's right to have an abortion are probably among the first to condemn pregnant women who smoke.

To be clear, I'm not advocating smoking during pregnancy (err on the side of caution would be my suggestion), but it's the hypocrisy that stinks.

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Reader Comments (5)

Maternal obesity is increasing and smoking reduces obesity risk. So in the warped world of the anti-smoking industry , the best thing to do is make even more women obese.

Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 10:11 | Unregistered CommenterFredrik Eich

There is a recording of a five live debate I did against smokerphobic thug and Mail writer Anna May Mangan some years ago. For someone who said she was concerned about the health of an unborn child, she began her diatribe against pregnant smokers by saying that she hates smokers so much she would attack them whenever she saw them. I can't find that audio now but someone recorded it and it is on the internet somewhere.

Soon after that debate I was chatting to a man about the debate and he said if he ever saw a pregnant woman smoking he would punch her in the mouth.

These people don't really care about the unborn baby. They just love to feel morally superior. Meanwhile they happily encourage violence, hatred and abuse against pregnant women at the most vulnerable time of thier lives.

You are spot on about those hypocrites screeching women should have the right to choose an abortion because it is their body but the same hypocrites claim both they and the state own the body of a pregnant smoker.

So much of this issue is dependant upon shallow and vacuous bullies, thugs and pretentious snobs.

Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 13:25 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

There is no comparison to be made between abortion and smoking during pregnancy. Let's assume tobacco control are correct (they aren't), then the comparison would be between aborting a fetus to prevent an unwanted or medically unviable pregnancy, or giving birth to a deformed or retarded child with a lifetime of medical issues, because you couldn't give up the fags for a few months

Smoking during pregnancy is clearly harmless due to the reasons that you yourself have stated above and more, yet your advice would be to err on the side of caution and do what your GP tells you, even though your GP is only parroting what Tobacco Control tell them

The real advice should be to ignore the junk science because it's wrong. Tobacco Control would make mincemeat out of the abortion comparison in a second and probably use it to make you look a bit crackpot, to boot

Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 13:50 | Unregistered CommenterBucko

Let’s see the health authorities have been infiltrated by left wing socialists hereafter known as Communists and puritans who know what is good for you and if you do not obey them then you will be punished. With them it is do as I say not what I do. Therefore it stands to reason to normal people that they all talk a load of the stuff that flows down the toilet. As far as I am concerned any woman pregnant or not is her own person and it is her body and choice to smoke,drink or do neither not, some know it all who believes in junk science and lies. Unfortunately these days this includes a fair amount of our politicians who I have said before do not have the same brain capability as a shopping trolley which does have a mind of its own.

Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 14:39 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Kerr

The actual evidence of harm from pregnant mothers smoking ranges from non-existant to negligible. As already noted past generations smoked at significantly higher rates than now with little, if any, effect.

The entire ploy is an emotional appeal to stigmatize smokers and trigger bullying to force smokers too quit. The appeal to children is a classic emotional tool used by antismokers to enable the persecution of smokers.

Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 19:26 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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