28 September 2018
As part of this year's Stoptober campaign, Jersey’s Stop Smoking Service and Midwives will offer carbon monoxide (CO) testing to all pregnant women.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas which is colourless and has no smell. It’s produced by tobacco products so is found in cigarette smoke. It's also found in exhaust fumes and is given off by faulty gas appliances, coal and wood fires and appliances which burn oil.
Carbon monoxide testing is done by breathing into a small device. Carbon monoxide testing is open to all expectant mums, not just smokers, and the test is entirely voluntary.
Head of Midwifery, Julie Mycock, said: “Carbon monoxide monitoring is common practice in the UK and we’re pleased to be able to offer this to pregnant women. Exposure to carbon monoxide during pregnancy can reduce the amount of oxygen the growing baby receives, and can be detrimental to the health of the baby and the pregnant woman.
“We want to offer testing to all expectant mums so we can provide the very best care for their babies all the way through pregnancy. If a woman does smoke, we are not judging her, we just want give her all the support she needs to give up smoking, and to get the best outcome for her and her baby.”
The aim of carbon monoxide testing is to identify pregnant women and their unborn babies who may be at risk from carbon monoxide. Women who smoke or have high readings will be referred to the Help2Quit specialist nurses for advice and support.
In Jersey, the most recent statistics showed:
- at the first booking appointment in pregnancy, 16% of pregnant women were smoking
- 1 in 6 of all babies born in 2017 were at risk of passive smoking at 6-8 weeks of age (2017 Smoking Profile)
- of the pregnant women who used Jersey’s smoking cessation service in 2017, around a third successfully stopped smoking
Dr Rhona Reardon, Help2Quit’s Lead Nurse, said: “It can be challenging for pregnant women to stop smoking, particularly if their partner smokes. Evidence shows that a smoker’s chance of quitting is increased by as much as 67% if their partner also stops.
“It can also be harder to stop smoking in pregnancy because the body reacts differently to nicotine. Our Help2Quit team understand this. We offer a friendly, supportive service to pregnant women and their partners. We can also offer advice to pregnant women who may not smoke, but who need advice on reducing their exposure to CO.”
Stop smoking support is available for all Islanders and there are 21 local pharmacies who can offer help and support to quit. Pharmacist Mel Boleat said: “We often see an increase in the number of people wanting to quit during Stoptober, and quitting initially for 28 days can make it seem manageable.”
Smokers in Jersey who want to find out more about Help2Quit can call 0800 7351155.