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MiQuit launches to help expectant parents quit smoking

11 October 2021

A new service named MiQuit is launching in Norfolk to help pregnant women to quit smoking and improve the health of their baby.

The MiQuit service, developed by experts at the University of East Anglia and University of Cambridge and commissioned by Norfolk County Council’s Public Health team, provides free text message support for users, sending information and advice directly to their phone. The support is tailored to each user and their lifestyle, ensuring everyone who signs up get the support they need to quit.

Users can sign up for the MiQuit service from their mobile phone. This text will be charged at their standard rate, after which all texts received from MiQuit are free of charge.

A series of text messages will then be sent asking questions about their smoking. Answers to these questions will be used to tailor the support provided, giving users the advice they need.

The service can be stopped at any time by texting “STOP” to 07860 018344

Pregnant women can find out more about the service and sign up at MiQuit on Just One Norfolk

Health care professionals including midwives, assistant midwives and health visitors will be provided with information about MiQuit by Norfolk’s Healthy Lifestyles team.

Chancellor Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “Smoking during pregnancy can have a major impact on a baby: it’s no exaggeration to say that quitting smoking will improve your child’s health not just at birth, but throughout their life. This new service aims to get tailored advice straight into the phones of people who need support in quitting, and the results of this pilot being run in Norfolk may help the service be taken up across the country, helping many more people live healthier, happier lives.”

The MiQuit text message service for pregnant women is funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research. It was developed by experts at the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia. The service is being piloted by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia, funded by Norfolk County Council.

Stopping smoking during pregnancy helps both mother and baby immediately. Harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, and other damaging chemicals will clear from the body. When an expectant mother stops smoking:

  • They will reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth
  • They are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby
  • They will reduce the risk of stillbirth
  • Their baby is less likely to be born too early and have to face the breathing, feeding and health problems that often go with being premature
  • Their baby is less likely to be born with a low birth weight. Babies of smokers are, on average, 200g (about 8oz) lighter than other babies, which can cause problems during and after labour. For example, they are more likely to have problems keeping warm and are more likely to get infections
  • They will reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as "cot death".

Stopping smoking during pregnancy will also help a baby later in life. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma and other serious illnesses that may need hospital treatment.

Further information of the impact of smoking during pregnancy can be found online on Just One Norfolk

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