Myths about quitting smoking

I have a friend who’s pregnant and she smokes, so I’ve been trying to find out information to help her quit.

She’s afraid she’ll be more stressed if she quits, and it will hurt her baby, but I found out smoking is much more dangerous for the baby’s health than any stress that would come from quitting. And, it’s the withdrawal between cigarettes that makes you feel stressed, so, once you quit, you won’t have that withdrawal and you’ll feel a lot less stressed.


That’s interesting, but isn’t the baby in a protected bubble? How would the smoke get to them?

Since the baby shares the mother’s bloodstream, it’s actually like putting the baby in a smoke-filled room for 15 minutes. There are over 7,000 chemicals pumped through the baby’s bloodstream every time the mom smokes a cigarette, which makes their heart struggle to get oxygen.


My friend doesn’t want to quit smoking because she knows her baby will probably be smaller because she smokes, and she thinks that will make the birth easier. 

A smaller, weaker baby won’t make delivery easier. In fact, having a small premature baby can lead to serious complications and the mom and baby may need to stay in the hospital longer.


#2   I’d be afraid I’d gain extra weight if I quit smoking during pregnancy. 

I think the best way to avoid gaining extra weight would be to make sure you eat healthy snacks. And, getting exercise, like going for a walk instead of smoking, would help both you and the baby be healthier. The good thing is, if you breastfeed your baby it will help you shed the pounds more quickly.


My friend says their mom smoked with her and she’s alright, so she doesn’t see the problem.

You need to remind her that smoking affects babies in different ways. Maybe she was one of the lucky ones. Smoking while you’re pregnant can cause lots of problems like birth defects, issues with the placenta, and even miscarriages.


I also found out it’s never too late to quit smoking. The sooner you stop smoking the better, but even stopping in the last few weeks will benefit you and your baby.


I wonder if cutting down helps too, or if you have to quit.

I think cutting down is a good first step, but it won’t protect your baby from all the harmful effects of cigarettes until you quit.


Some women use smoking as their ‘me’ time and don’t want to give that up. 

Just think of all the money they could save. They could treat themselves after their first smoke-free day, or week, or month? And, at the end of a year, they could even save enough for a vacation.


Some people think E-cigarettes, or vapes, are better for their health and want to use them instead, but I know vapes still contain nicotine and harmful toxic chemicals. 

You are right! Nicotine permanently damages a baby’s brain and lungs, so, it’s better for mom and baby if she quit using licensed medicines. 

The Garrett County Health Department has Quit Now Classes starting in April. Let’s call 301-334-7730 and get more information.

John Corbin (BS, CPT, MCPT, CSNC)

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