Resort top of list for smoking while pregnant

A smoker lights up.
A smoker lights up.
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More than a quarter of babies are born to mothers who smoke in Blackpool, official figures show.

In the resort, 27.2 per cent of women were recorded as smoking at the time of birth in 2014/15, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said.

This contrasted with central London at the other end of the spectrum, where just 2.1% of women did.

Overall, the figures are the lowest since records began in 2006/07, with 11.4% of pregnant women smoking when they gave birth, representing 70,880 out of 622,640 maternities last year.

A year earlier the figure was 12%, continuing the steady decline since 2006/7, which saw a high of 15.1%.

Since 2006/07, the number of maternities has risen by 3.6% at the same time as the number of women who smoke at the time of giving birth has fallen by 22%, the HSCIC said.

The Government has a target of reducing the number of pregnant women smoking to 11% by the end of the year.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and well-being at Public Health England (PHE), said: “We are very encouraged that the rate of smoking during pregnancy continues to fall and that we’re on course to reach our 11% ambition.

“However, further action is required to support those who find it more difficult to stop. There are still significant differences across regions and social groups - with the burden and harm hitting hardest in more deprived communities.

“Stopping smoking is the best thing a woman and her partner can do to protect their own health and the health of their baby, both during pregnancy and after.”