Background: Smoking during pregnancy can have many serious consequences. As the usual providers of pregnancy care in the Netherlands, midwives could serve as effective counsellors to pregnant women about cigarette smoking. The aim of the present study was to identify relevant factors that hamper or promote the provision of effective smoking cessation advice and counselling. Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to midwives; 237 (64.4%) were returned. Questions were asked about advantages and disadvantages of giving smoking cessation advice, perceived health benefits for mother and child, smoking behaviour and normative beliefs of colleagues, self-efficacy and role definition of midwives with regard to giving smoking cessation advice. Results: Midwives who have a more positive role definition regarding giving smoking cessation advice are more convinced of the advantages of giving advice, the advantages of quitting for their clients and perceive more support from their colleagues with regard to giving advice. Conclusion: In general, midwives were motivated to provide their clients with smoking cessation advice. They were less comfortable with guiding women through the cessation process. Therefore, effective materials and training should be developed to facilitate and stimulate midwives in their role as effective counsellors.