Need to increase efforts to reduce smoking in pregnancy says RCM

By RCM on 09 June 2022 RCM Women Wellbeing Of Women Smoking Public Health Stillbirth Miscarriage Infant Mortality

Reducing smoking in pregnancy is a key driver in reducing stillbirth rates and more effort is needed to keep pushing smoking rates down says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). This comes as the Khan report into tobacco control is published today. 

The RCM contributed evidence to the report which outlines fifteen recommendations to have the best chance of meeting the Government’s national target to be smokefree by 2030. It also highlights the impact of smoking in pregnancy which is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, and sudden infant death syndrome. 

Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM, and its lead on smoking issues, said: “Quitting smoking is simply one of the best things a woman and her partner can do to protect their baby’s health. Smoking in pregnancy significantly increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, sudden infant death, and birth abnormalities and can also damage the woman’s pregnancy and health. Anything we can do to reduce it will really pay dividends and will save lives, and efforts must be stepped up to achieve this. That is why it is vital that maternity services get the funding needed to support women to stop smoking.” 

“The key, of course, is to prevent people starting to smoke in the first place and the measures outlined in the report will take us some way towards this. There is also a pressing need to reverse cuts to public health funding that has seen smoking cessation services hit hard. Investing in these services is an investment in the health of the nation, which will reduce deaths, improve overall health, and will ultimately save the NHS money.” 


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]. 

Notes to Editors

The Khan report can be read at The Khan review: making smoking obsolete - GOV.UK (

See also the RCM’s Support to Quit Smoking publication at rcm-position-statement-support-to-quit-smoking-in-pregnancy.pdf.

The Royal College of Midwives (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 | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team