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Prevalence of pregnant smokers reaches record low

More than a third of clinical commissioning group areas have hit 2015 target to reduce prevalence to 11%

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 23 June 2014

The proportion of pregnant women who smoke has fallen to an all-time low, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre has revealed.

The latest figures in the quarterly report, Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery, show that just 12 per cent of women who were pregnant in 2013-14 class themselves as smokers, the lowest in the eight years that data have been collected.

In 2012-13, the proportion of pregnant women smokers was 12.7 per cent, and this had declined from 15.1 per cent in 2006-07.

Overall since 2006-07 the absolute number of women who smoked whilst pregnant has fallen by 16 per cent (to 75,910 from 90,890). Meanwhile the number of maternities has increased by 5 per cent (from 601,260 to 632,960). London had the lowest prevalence of pregnant smokers – just 5.1 per cent – and Durham, Darlington and Tees Area Team the highest – 20.6 per cent.

The target is to reduce rates of smoking throughout pregnancy to 11 per cent or less by the end of 2015. This target has been achieved in over one third of clinical commissioning groups (39 per cent or 82 out of 211), but almost one in twelve CCGs (18) recorded a prevalence of at least one fifth of women smoking during pregnancy.

Of the four commissioning regions, London had the highest proportion of CCGs meeting the national ambition (97 per cent), followed by CCGs in the South of England (52 per cent) and those in the Midlands and East of England (26 per cent). The North of England had the lowest proportion (13 per cent).

Kingsley Manning, chair of the Health and Social Care Information Centre, said: "It is encouraging to see that since 2006-07 the number of pregnant women who smoked during pregnancy has declined. However, there is still a little way to go to achieve the national ambition.

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