Pregnant smokers resist counselling

COUNSELLING alone is not enough to convince pregnant women to quit smoking, according to a meta-analysis involving more than 3200 women.

The negative results were the same regardless of whether the counselling was conducted by GPs or nurses, by phone or by specialist smoking cessation counsellors individually or in groups.

The researchers analysed the results of eight randomised controlled trials. 

They deliberately excluded studies that offered counselling with pharmacotherapies, or those combining different types of counselling such as GP counselling plus phone support from a Quitline-type service.

The women were assessed six months after the target quit date and their nicotine status verified biochemically. 

Just four to 24% of the women randomised to counselling alone had given up smoking at follow-up, compared with two to 21% in the control groups receiving usual care.