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What if I/we smoke?

Smoking and babies don’t mix. All smoking is harmful but smoking in pregnancy is the most dangerous.

To smoke around a pregnant woman is to smoke around her baby. Nicotine can pass through the skin, and is also breathed in.

First-hand smoking

When pregnant women smoke, their babies get less oxygen and food while they are developing.

They also get large doses of nicotine, which is a neurotransmitter and affects the growing brain. It may make babies less responsive to environmental dangers in the first 6 months of life.

They adjust to these poor growing conditions in ways that may cause problems after they are born. For example, they get used to less oxygen so their ‘wake-up’ response is blunted, which puts them at risk when they sleep.

Second-hand smoking

Smoking around babies can also make them sick. While smoking outside is better than smoking inside, a smoke-free household is the best protection for everyone.

Families can help protect a baby by:

  • becoming a smoke-free family
  • delaying sleeping together with a baby for the first six months (very important)
  • letting nobody smoke near a baby or around pregnant women.

Visit our Be Smokefree page for advice and tips to help you and your family be smokefree.

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