The number of women in Kirklees smoking in pregnancy is now the lowest it’s been since records began.

The number of women smoking at the time of giving birth has been recorded since 2010 when it stood at 749, 14%.

Whilst there are many reasons why this number has decreased including changes in attitudes to smoking, Kirklees Council knows that their Auntie Pam’s service has had a significant impact.

Auntie Pam’s supports parents of young children, people thinking about starting a family or those who are already pregnant. They provide a variety of wraparound services, including specialist stop smoking support.

Since 2020, Auntie Pam’s has been taking referrals for stop smoking support directly from maternity services as well as self-referrals. As a result, the rate of people smoking at the time of giving birth has reduced from 537, 12.1% in 2019 to 460, 10.4% in 2021.

Whilst this is still higher than the national average of 9.4% it is lower than the Yorkshire and Humber average of 13.1%.

Protecting babies from tobacco smoke is one of the best things people can do to give their child the best start in life. Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy is responsible for an increased rate of still-births, premature birth, miscarriages, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Clr Musarrat Khan, Cabinet member for health and social care, said: “I am delighted to see the reduction in people smoking at the time of giving birth. This improvement reflects the hard work and dedication of our Auntie Pam’s service and its amazing volunteers.

“As a council we are committed to tackling health inequalities and it is clear that our Auntie Pam’s service is helping residents to live healthier and happier lives as well as giving their babies and children the best start in life.

“If you are expecting a baby and would like to give up smoking please get in touch with Auntie Pam’s – it’s never too late to ask for support to help stop smoking.”

Auntie Pam’s is a one-to-one peer service offered by local women who are trained as peer volunteers and understand what it is like to be a parent and what it is you are going through. 

Auntie Pam’s volunteers will take time to listen and talk with you over a cuppa and help you to find answers that are best for you. They are non-judgemental and anything you tell them is in strictest confidence. Support is free, over the phone, at a time to suit you, with free nicotine replacement therapy delivered to your door.

An Auntie Pam’s service user said: “I want to thank Auntie Pam’s for the support to help me stop smoking, my smoking advisor also helped me find somewhere safe to live. She listened to me, much more than anyone else did.”

If you or someone you know would like help from Auntie Pam’s you can drop in to either their Huddersfield or Dewsbury premises or give them a call, they are waiting to hear from you.

For more information and opening times  or visit the Auntie Pam’s Facebook page.