Almost one in three women in Blackpool are still smoking during pregnancy, new figures show.
Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveal the resort still has highest number of mums-to-be lighting up – despite work by public health teams to tackle and issue and despite the fact smoking during pregnancy can cause a range of serious health problems for babies.
According to the latest research, 30.8 per cent of mothers who gave birth in Blackpool between 2012 and 2013 classes themselves as a smoker when they had their baby – or 520 out of 1,700.
This was in stark contrast to Westminster, which had the lowest figures in the country, with one in 43 pregnant women smoking.
Across England, around one in every eight women smoked during pregnancy, putting Blackpool well above the national average.
The figures indicate a slight rise in the numbers of Blackpool from 2012, when the rate had dropped below 30 per cent – to 29 per cent – for the first time since records began. The resort has historically had high rates of women smoking during pregnancy.
Smoking while pregnant poses a higher risk of serious health problems to the unborn child, including low birth weight, pre-term birth, placental complications and even still-birth.
Blackpool, which has high levels of deprivation, has a high rate of smokers across the general population.
Coun Ivan Taylor, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Blackpool Victoria has been working with Blackpool Council to pilot a new protocol trying to reduce the number of women smoking while pregnant in Blackpool.
“Pregnant women are now screened at antenatal appointments and receive nicotine replacement therapy to help them give up smoking.
“Women are regularly screened for traces of carbon monoxide to identify possible harm to the mother and baby caused by poorly maintained gas appliances and tobacco smoke.”
“Analysis from during the pilot period indicates smoking has decreased in pregnant women.
“The pilot, which was launched 18 months ago, has now finished and to reduce the number of women smoking while pregnant. The findings of the pilot are due to be published as part of a Government review.”