I was extremely distressed to read (Mail, June 19) that Hartlepool has more than twice the national average of women who smoke while pregnant.
As the Mail said in its editorial, we all know that smoking has risks and we are constantly bombarded with reminders of this.
However, shouting very loudly does little good if nobody is interested in listening to what you are saying.
The quantity of warnings is not in doubt, but what about the effectiveness?
Does the public understand the risks involved with smoking during pregnancy?
The current drive against smoking is focused on plain cigarette packs.
But I have to wonder if this will actually influence any smokers at all or if it is just a way for the Government to look like it is doing something about the issue.
I don’t want a nanny state.
We should not ban smoking – it is a personal choice, and any adult should be free to smoke.
However, like many readers, I am deeply concerned about the impact it could have on unborn babies.
I am also puzzled how Hartlepool can be over twice the national average?
I could understand how a town could be over the average, but double?
Regardless of the reason, this is not a problem that will be solved overnight or by a simple letter from a politician.
This is an issue which will require a lot of thought, both locally and nationally, and it is one that must be addressed.
In the short term, I would encourage all smokers who fall pregnant to get in touch with your doctor and ask about nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) – patches and gum for instance, which are available free on this NHS.
Coincidentally, this is yet another reason why key hospital services must be available within Hartlepool.
If anyone would like to discuss how we might begin to approach this important issue or why the rate is so high in Hartlepool, then I would love to hear from you, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the address below.
Jonathan Arnott, MEP,
UK Independence Party,
When going gets tough
I had a run up to Hartlepool’s new Home Bargains and Iceland, off Brenda Road.
I looked around all of the shops with my family, and had a really good shop.
However, the let-down was that there were no public toilets.
So come on, whoever is responsible for this unfortunate let-down.
Supply shoppers with a very needy “must”!
After all, when you need to go, you need to go.