The negative ramifications of smoking during pregnancy have been well publicised for years now. Indeed, there isn’t a month that goes by when there isn’t some new study shedding light on the harm the habit can cause.


Yes, most of us will be aware that smoking during those precious nine months can result in premature birth and low birth weight, while there are also links to a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


It can be difficult to kick the habit, however, and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has issued fresh advice this week for helping expectant mums who are trying to quit smoking.


According to a new report, the Health Technology Assessment, pregnant women looking to give up cigarettes should be offered counselling in the first place.


HIQA authorities claim there is ‘substantial evidence’ to support just how effective counselling can be for expectant mothers.


Another significant piece of advice to emerge from the report is HIQA’s urging that smokers should not be relying on e-cigarettes primarily to quit smoking.



Like many other health authorities and experts around the world, HIQA referred to the lack of scientific proof demonstrating that e-cigarettes are actually the most effective way to quit.


With the Department of Health shelling out over a whopping €40 million each year on resources and campaigns encouraging people to quit smoking, HIQA reckons there needs to be a new approach – one that is rooted in health education and financial incentives.


The report and HIQA’s suggestions have now been presented to Minister for Health Simon Harris.


Explaining the main points of the report, HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment, Dr Máirín Ryan, said: “HIQA advises the Minister to await the results of ongoing trials before deciding whether to recommend e-cigarettes.


“A decision to advocate e-cigarette use should take into consideration any additional information on the long-term safety of e-cigarette use, and any emerging data in relation to concerns about the social normalisation of e-cigarettes leading to increased uptake among people who have never smoked, or later migration to tobacco cigarettes.”


We will keep you updated on the progress of the report and how Minister Harris responds to the advice.