Healthcare professionals are calling on the government to take action following a new report which suggests the government’s ambition of reducing the rate of smoking in pregnancy to less than 6% by 2022 is looking unlikely to be met.
The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, a coalition of health and maternity organisations, warns that more needs to be done after a recent NHS Digital report showing that smoking in pregnancy rates (at the time of delivery) dropped by just 0.2% in quarter 3 of 2017/18 (10.8%) in comparison to quarter 2 (11.0%).
Chief Executive of the Lullaby Trust and Co-Chair of the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, Francine Bates, said: “This report should be a wake-up call. On the current trajectory, the government will miss its ambition to reduce rates of smoking among pregnant women with tragic consequences.
“We have made real progress in the past in helping women to have smoke free pregnancies and we must be ambitious about what can be achieved in the future to protect thousands of families from entirely preventable and heart breaking outcomes.”
The lowest proportion of women known to be smokers at the time of delivery were NHS Wokingham (1.6%), NHS Camden (2.4%) and NHS Hammersmith and Fulham (2.4%).
The highest rates of smoking in pregnancy were NHS Blackpool (27.8%), NHS South Kent Coast (23.1%) and NHS South Tyneside (21.7%).
Chief Executive at the Royal College of Midwives, Gill Walton, added: “Some midwives have access to excellent training, the equipment they need and high quality stop smoking services available for the women they support. Investment is needed to ensure that this is universal.”
34 out of 207 Clinical Commissioning Groups met the government’s national ambition of 6% or less.
The full report ‘Statistics on women’s smoking status at time of delivery, England’ can be found here.
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