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More than 1 in 10 mothers smoke while pregnant

Figures published today show that 11.4% of pregnant women were recorded as smokers at the time of giving birth in 2014-15.

This is slightly (0.6%) lower than the previous year, continuing the steady decline from 2006/7 when 15.1% of pregnant women were recorded as smokers.

However, there was large variations depending on the clinical commissioning group (CCG) region the women were in, ranging from 2.1% in central London to 27.2% in Blackpool.

Dr Nick Hopkinson, honorary medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation, said: “It is encouraging that the number of women smoking at time of delivery has continued to fall. Smoking while pregnant exposes the mother and unborn child to an increased risk of health problems. It can also significantly affect the development of babies' lungs.

“Regional variations in smoking while pregnant and variations according to levels of deprivation remain a cause for concern. If we want to see this improve, the government must support public health efforts and target resources in areas where rates are still high to help expecting mothers, or anyone else, wishing to quit smoking.”

The research by the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that 90 of the 211 CCGs met the national ambition of 11% or less women classed as smokers at the time of delivery.

Looking at the four commissioning regions, all 32 of London's CCG met this guideline, South of England had 28 of its 50 CCGs meet it; Midlands and East of England had 20 of its 61 CCGs and the North of England had 10 of its 68 CCGs meeting this national goal.