King's College London

Research portal

I don’t need you to criticise me, I need you to support me’. A qualitative study of women’s experiences of and attitudes to smoking cessation during pregnancy.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tomasina Stacey, Jayne Samples, Chelsea Leadley, Lisa Akester, Azariah Jenney

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e549-e555
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number6
Early online date1 Feb 2022
Accepted/In press26 Jan 2022
E-pub ahead of print1 Feb 2022
PublishedNov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funded by Kirklees Council Public Health Directorate, West Yorkshire, UK. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors


King's Authors


Smoking is associated with health inequalities and is the most important modifiable risk factor for poor outcome in pregnancy.

To explore women’s experiences of smoking during pregnancy, examine their attitudes and barriers to smoking cessation, and to discover what support they feel might enable them to have a smoke-free pregnancy in future.

A qualitative study was conducted with nineteen women in the United Kingdom who had smoked at some stage in pregnancy during the last five years. Data were collected through in-depth telephone interviews between June and August 2021. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analysed.

Four key themes were identified: the complex relationship with smoking, being ready to quit, the need for support and understanding, and ideas to support a smoke free pregnancy. The findings revealed that there were two distinct avenues for enabling the support process: encouraging a readiness to quit through identifying individual context, personalised support, and educational risk perception, and, supporting the process of quitting, and offering a range of options, underpinned by a personalised, non-judgemental approach.

Smoking in pregnancy is a complex issue resulting from a combination of social, emotional, and physical factors. The findings from this study suggest that a combination of approaches should be made available to enable pregnant women who smoke to select the best options for their individual needs. Irrespective of the practical support offered, there is a need for informed, sensitive, individualised support system that women can identify with.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454