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Smoking & Second-Hand Smoke

smiling pregnant couple

When you decide to quit smoking or to avoid second-hand smoke you are making a healthy choice. Your health and your baby’s health are the best reasons in the world to be smoke free! To create a smoke-free environment, make your home and car smoke free. Ask family members, friends, and co-workers not to smoke around you and to smoke outside when visiting you.

Expectant parents often feel intense pressure to stop smoking… from partners, family members, the media, etc. It’s your decision to smoke, reduce or quit.

Quitting is a process. It helps to make a plan, change habits, and rally support. You may not be successful the first time, but keep trying. Every time you try to quit, you get closer to quitting for good. You’ll figure out what works for you!

What makes you want to smoke?
If you are like most smokers, smoking is something you do without really thinking about it. You may smoke automatically when you do certain activities, feel a certain way, or are with other smokers.

Learning how to break the connection between smoking and your triggers is an important part of quitting. Think about when you might experience your triggers and have a plan to deal with them.

Practice Quitting
Before your actual quit date, practice quitting by using the 4 D’s:
Delay Distract Drink Water Deep Breathe

Set a Quit Date
My Quit Date is: _________________________________________________

The day before your Quit Date, get rid of your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays and remind yourself why you are quitting.

Change your Daily Habits
If you smoke when you _____ Try doing this _______
Drink coffee | Have hot chocolate or herbal tea
Finish eating | Get right up, take a walk, or brush your teeth
Watch TV | Do something else with your hands like play cards or start a new project

Keep your hands and mouth busy
Your hands:

  • Draw or doodle
  • Massage your hands
  • Knit or sew
  • Garden or do woodworking

Your mouth:

  • Chew sugarless gum
  • Eat raw vegetables or fruit
  • Sip water or juice
  • Use a straw or toothpick

Rally Support
Getting support from those around you can make a real difference when it comes to quitting. You can get support from your:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Co-workers
  • Doctor, nurse practitioner or midwife

Ask your health care provider about medications that can ease your withdrawal symptoms and help you quit during your pregnancy.

You can ask others to support you by:

  • reminding you how well you are doing
  • not smoking around you
  • thinking about quiting with you

To learn more about services that are available to you and your partner to help you quit smoking, you can speak to a Public Health Nurse at Peterborough Public Health by calling 705-743-1000.


Pregnets (Centre for Addiction & Mental Health)
Expecting to Quit (B.C. Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health)
Dads in Gear (University of British Columbia)
Smokers’ Helpline (Canadian Cancer Society)

Myth: Quitting smoking causes stress which can harm a baby.

Quitting smoking doesn’t create extra stress or harm a baby. Continuing to smoke does. Quitting is actually one of the best things you can do for you and your baby’s health. While stress during pregnancy is common, it’s best to develop ways to manage it without smoking.

Consider light exercise, yoga, meditation, and scheduling time to rest along with the other tips in this section.


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