Cuts to stop smoking services fly in face of Government stillbirth ambitions says RCM on new report

on 15 March 2019 Smoking Public Health

Today a report from Action on Smoking and Health and Cancer Research UK says that Government cuts to public health budgets mean that only half of local authorities offer all smokers the best support to quit. The report says that smoking rates for adults are still falling but they have plateaued for some groups, notably pregnant women, and the gap in smoking rates between rich and poor remains unchanged.

Commenting on the report Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “said: "These cuts are flying in the face of Government actions to reduce stillbirths. Reducing smoking in pregnancy is one of the key things that can be done to reduce our stillbirth rate, which remains high compared with many similar European countries.

"I am very concerned that smoking rates among pregnancy women have plateaued. Our Government should be investing heavily in smoking cessation services, not reducing them. They simply cannot have an ambition to reduce stillbirth rates whilst at the same time cutting funding for services that will help them achieve that ambition. It simply makes no sense.

"We need to see more funding to reduce smoking across the population and also investment in specialist smoking cessation midwives to support pregnant women to stop smoking. If the Government are serious about their ambitions, they need to be serious about funding services."

The ASH/Cancer Research UK report can be read at


Note to editors


The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at