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New study proves the damaging effects of smoking during pregnancy

October 8th 2013 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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The latest research shows the awful effects that smoking can have on children - so use Stoptober and these expert tips to ditch the cigs for good, says Ayesha Muttucumaru

A recent study has shown that children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are at a greater risk of suffering from anxiety, depression, stress and mood-related problems.

Reported by The Daily Mail, the research, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology revealed the results of a study conducted on 113 six to eight year olds whose mothers smoked between one and nine cigarettes a day during pregnancy. When compared to a control group of another 113 children (whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy), the results showed that children in the first group had smaller brains containing less grey and white matter.

Furthermore, they showed a greater susceptibility to anxiety and depression and showed more discrepancies in mood due to effects in the development of the superior frontal cortex. Even more shockingly though, only seventeen mothers stopped smoking when they found out they were pregnant and a shocking ninety-six continued regardless.

It would be easy to judge mothers who smoke during pregnancy, but much in the same way that alcoholism, eating disorders and compulsive behaviours work, smoking above all else is an addiction - an addiction which affects not only the sufferer, but those closest to them too. When a behaviour has become so deep-rooted in someone’s habits, identity and stress-management, a way out can seem near enough impossible.

Looking for a way to stop? Cue the arrival of #Stoptober, and as the name suggests, the most opportune time to stub the smokes for good. After all, children shouldn’t have to pay for the transgressions of their parents. To help you get started, we asked two top specialists for their tips for quitting. It may seem overwhelming at first, but take it one step at a time and remember to keep your eyes on the bigger picture – the long-term physical and mental health of both yourself and your children.

Max Kirsten

Clinical Hyponotherapist, Master Practitioner of NLP, Success Coach

“Set your final ‘quit date’ ASAP — and then stick to it! Make it sooner rather than later. If you are quitting by yourself, I recommend that just before you stop smoking, try smoking another brand for at least a few days as they just won’t seem as enjoyable. Also at the same time try taking a small sip of fresh water (and then swallowing it), just before you take each puff. Notice what happens to the way they now taste? Yuk!”

“Get as much support as you can from family, friends and work colleagues. Let them know you are planning to quit, and ask smokers not to smoke around you or to offer you cigarettes.”

“On the big day, throw out all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters and anything else that might remind you of smoking. Crush the last pack with your hands and say out loud "The end of it, and not the end of me!"

For extra quit smoking support information, including "What's in a cigarette?" plus all of Max’s hypnotherapy MP3 downloads, iPhone and iPad apps to help you to succeed at stopping smoking, lose weight, or get better sleep - visit his website and while you are there you can even watch his ‘Stop Smoking’ video on page 3 of his resources pages.

Allen Carr

Allen Carr's Easyway Top Tips for a smoke-free future by John Dicey, CEO at Allen Carr’s Easyway

“Set your date and time to stop and carry on smoking as usual right up to that time - don't try to cut down beforehand, that just makes cigarettes seem more precious rather than less precious.”

“Look forward to stopping. Rather than assume you are going to feel deprived and miserable - just look forward to finally being free.”

“Remember - you are not 'giving up' or 'quitting' - these terms are so negative - who wants to be labelled a quitter? Instead decide that you are going to stop. You are going to be a non-smoker, not an ex-smoker!”

“Never be fooled into thinking you could have the odd cigarette just to be social, you will either return to smoking at your old level immediately or gradually build up to it over a period of time. Never think in terms of one cigarette, always think of 100,000.”

“Avoid any form of substitution; if you replace cigarettes with chocolate you'll gain weight and be miserable. Even the use of seemingly innocent substitutes such as carrot/celery sticks create and then perpetuate a feeling of deprivation. Remember you are not giving up anything - you are getting rid of smoking. Looking for a replacement would be like getting rid of a terrible cold and wanting to replace it with the flu!”

Click here for more information about Allen Carr clinics (where you can receive a money back guarantee) or read one of their books for some extra encouragement.

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