The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, a coalition of health and baby charities including the Institute of Health Visiting, today welcomed the news that smoking rates among pregnant women have continued to fall but warned that progress could be jeopardised if services to help people quit continue to be cut around the country.
Smoking at Time of Delivery data
Smoking at Time of Delivery data, published by the Government today, shows that 10.6% of women were smoking at the end of their pregnancy in 2015/16 compared to 11.4% in 2014/15. This means the Government has met its ambition to reduce smoking rates among pregnant women to less than 11% by 2015. However, these figures hide the variation between different parts of the country. Areas where smoking rates and deprivation are high have rates many times that of more affluent areas.
In many places local authorities and local maternity services have been working hard to encourage more pregnant women to quit. However, cuts to the public health budget nationally mean there are fewer resources available locally to fund vital quit smoking support which can improve a person’s chances of quitting by up to four times.
Dr Cheryll Adams, executive director of the iHV, commented: “‘This is very good news but it’s important not to be complacent. We need to continue to support women to stop smoking when they are pregnant, and also around babies and young children, to help reduce health inequalities during their and their children’s lifetime.”