NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has said that the number of pregnant women across their area who have attempted to quit smoking has doubled since the launch of the Quit Your Way support and advice service.

Smoking in pregnancy is a leading preventable cause of maternal and neonatal illness and death with around 5,000 foetuses and babies dying as a result of this annually in the UK.

The issue costs the NHS up to £64 million per year for problems in mothers and up to £23.5 million for infants.

In addition, according to the health board, the smoking cessation teams exceeded the National Standard for 12 week quits in the 40 per cent most deprived communities with performance on track to again surpass the target.

Linda de Caestecker, NHSGGC’s director of public health, said: “I am delighted with these new figures – each one of these quits is an individual success story and a new chapter in that person’s life and that of their child.

“Every child has a right to have the best start in life and growing up in a smokefree environment is an important part of that.

“We know quitting smoking isn’t easy, but we offer world class smoking cessation services in local community venues and in all pharmacies.

“Our Quit Your Way services are helping to drive down smoking rates. Our Services provide vital life-saving services for smokers addicted to tobacco and offer the best way of helping people to stop smoking and to stay smoke-free. The service is called Quit Your Way as it takes into account individual circumstances and the treatments that people feel suit them best.”

Despite the continuing drop in smoking rates, smoking remains the biggest single preventable cause of ill-health and premature death in Scotland.

Tobacco use accounts for almost one in four of all deaths in Scotland, is responsible for around 33,500 hospital admissions annually and costs the NHS around £400 million every year to treat smoking-related illnesses.

Smoking is linked to many illnesses and long-term conditions, substantially increasing the chances of developing lung conditions, heart disease, strokes and cancers.

Tobacco smoke contains approximately 4,000 chemicals many of which cause cancer. Carbon monoxide and tar are the most toxic chemicals smokers inhale. Others include: Acetone - widely used in nail polish remover; ammonia - found in cleaning fluids; cadmium - a poisonous metal used in batteries; formaldehyde, which is used to preserve dead bodies; and shellac which becomes a wood varnish when mixed with a form of alcohol

Anyone looking for help to give up smoking can access a wide variety of services to suit their needs by visiting the Quit Your Way section of the NHSGGC website at nhsggc.org.uk/your-health/healthy-living/smokefree/quit-your-way/quit-your-way-support/