Pregnancy smoking cessation support should include partners, family members and friends (Netherlands)

smoking cessation

Following interviews in 2020 with 23 pregnant or recently pregnant women and five partners, researchers in the Netherlands have made two recommendations.

  • Research is needed to find ways to increase the involvement of partners, other family members and friends in smoking cessation support for pregnant women.
  • Women and their partners should be involved in the development of future smoking cessation guidelines for use during pregnancy.

Although most women did not expect their partner to stop smoking during their pregnancy, they did say that this would be of great support to them. Conversely, one woman did not want her partner to stop smoking because it made him grumpy and led to arguments. Women supported the involvement of partners in smoking cessation support.

I definitely think that if there are two smokers in a relationship that you should….take on the project together. Of course, some things you can only do alone, but you need support from others and if you are constantly being tempted, that doesn’t have much impact.

Some women also expressed the need to get support from their wider social network, not just their partner.

I really do think family and friends could pull me through better than somebody from outside [a professional].

The prevalence of smoking during pregnancy in Europe is 8%, higher than other regions in the world. Smoking is more likely among women from lower socioeconomic groups, women who are experiencing more stress, and women whose partner also smokes. Uptake of smoking cessation services is low among these women – 7% in the Netherlands and 12% in UK.


Weiland S, Warmelink JC, Peters LL, Berger MY, Erwich JJHM & Jansen DEMC (2021), The needs of women and their partners regarding professional smoking cessation support during pregnancy: A qualitative study, Women and Birth

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