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Home Industry News Progress on tackling smoking in pregnancy ‘is slowing down’

Progress on tackling smoking in pregnancy ‘is slowing down’

16th June 2017

The number of women continuing to smoke during pregnancy is not falling as fast as in previous years, according to a new report.

New NHS data indicates rates of smoking among pregnant women dropped only marginally from 10.6 percent in 2015-16 to 10.5 percent currently, suggesting that the strong progress made in the last few years may have stalled.

This was despite a record decline of 1.4 percent in overall smoking rates between 2015 and 2016, with figures indicating that maternal smoking at time of birth actually rose in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 to 10.8 percent.

The coalition of health charities forming the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group have called for government action to address this problem, noting that women who smoke in pregnancy are more likely to be from disadvantaged backgrounds.

As such, fears have arisen that cuts to local services may be curbing the ability of maternity staff to help women to quit smoking.

Francine Bates, chief executive of the Lullaby Trust and co-chair of the Challenge Group, said: "Smoking tragically remains the cause of too many babies' deaths each year with many more born prematurely or with health conditions. We cannot afford to go backwards having made good progress."

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