Motherhood does not always lead one to kick the smoking habit, as shown by the results of a new study.

Of the number of women who were able to stay off tobacco or cigarettes while pregnant, 43 percent returned to smoking within six months of giving birth, as revealed by the new review of studies on the effectiveness of stop-smoking approaches in this segment.

The findings were discussed in the journal Addiction.

Three percent or about 19,000 pregnant smokers in the United Kingdom used the National Health Service’s stop-smoking support in fiscal year 2014 to 2015, representing a significant investment.

But while most women quit spontaneously upon learning of their pregnancy, the team out of the University of York and University of Nottingham discovered that a small segment of those who attempted to quit while pregnant successfully abstained to the end of the full term, because 87 percent of pregnant women who joined stop-smoking services still smoked when their babies were born.

“Most pregnant smokers do not achieve abstinence from smoking while they are pregnant, and among those that do, most will restart smoking within six months of childbirth,” the report states, suggesting there are few infants and women gaining maximum benefits from smoking cessation despite large spending in this area.

Lead study author Matthew Jones said these results showed “a wide gulf” between what the health care system provides at present and what pregnant women need to quit the habit. He warned that smoking while pregnant is a major public health concern around the world.

"A conservative estimate for the annual economic burden in the UK is £23.5 million and in the US $110 million,” he says.

According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is the culprit behind nearly one out of five deaths in the United States alone.

Most people choose to ditch it by cutting down slowly until they stop, yet new research showed that people who quit cold turkey are more likely to succeed in quitting for good. Gradual reduction prior to quitting has been also found by studies to be more difficult due to the cravings and discomfort.

Photo: Riccardo Battistella | Flickr 

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