How we use Cookies

Pregnant smokers still risking harm to babies

In some parts of the region almost one in five expectant mothers are continuing to puff away throughout pregnancy

More than 17 per cent of pregnant women in Wolverhampton were still smoking during the last three months of last year

More than one in ten pregnant women in Birmingham are still lighting up, according to new figures.

But in some parts of the region almost one in five expectant mothers are continuing to puff away throughout pregnancy despite an awareness campaign.

Health chiefs have warned that expectant mothers who continue to smoke are putting their unborn babies at risk.

In Wolverhampton, NHS figures revealed that in the three months to last December 150 women were still smoking out of 849 maternity cases, 17.7 per cent.

In Dudley 149 out of 926 pregnant women were lighting up, just over 16 per cent.

In Birmingham one in ten were still smoking, but health chiefs said this figure showed considerable progress.

Birmingham Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, said: “Thankfully the number of babies whose health is affected by smoking has fallen dramatically in Birmingham in recent years.

“The number of mothers who smoke during pregnancy is now significantly below the national average and has dropped from over 16 per cent to under 10 per cent.

“This means that across the city over a thousand babies each year are now far healthier than was previously the case.

“But we’re not complacent. This is still a big issue for over 1,500 babies every year.

“That’s too many babies who are affected after birth by their parents smoking, especially in the home as they sleep and whilst travelling in cars.”

This week is national stop smoking week and health officials are urging people, especially if they are pregnant, to quit the habit.

Dr Phillips added: “Stopping smoking is one of the single biggest things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. And there are so many benefits for both mother and baby.

“You will have less morning sickness and fewer complications throughout your pregnancy.

“You reduce the risk of stillbirth and your baby is less likely to be born underweight. You will reduce the risk of cot death, also known as sudden infant death.

“Second-hand or passive smoke also harms babies.

“So if your partner or anyone else you live with smokes, their smoke harms infants.”

Rates for smoking among the general population from the Office of National Statistics show that in the West Midlands, 18.9 per cent of adults smoked in 2012, down from the 20.4 per cent of adults who smoked in 2010/11.

Of those asked, 50.8 per cent of people in the region said they have never smoked.

The average long-term cost to the NHS of treating smoking-related illness is £1,700 per person.

According to the government’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence each year, smoking kills around 80,000 people and leads to more than 460,000 hospital admissions in England and treating smoking-related illnesses costs the NHS around £2.7 billion.

Professor Mike Kelly Director, NICE Centre for Public Health urged the region’s hospitals to stop providing areas for people to light up.

He said: “All NHS hospitals and clinics should become completely smoke-free. This will help all patients who smoke, including those receiving mental health treatment, to stop smoking whilst they receive care, and preferably help them to stop for good.

“Providing stop smoking support in hospitals when people need it most can end the terrible spectacle of people on drips in hospital gowns smoking outside hospital entrances.”

For advice on how to quit smoking, call the Birmingham stop smoking service on 0800 052 5855 free or text ‘QUIT’ to 80800.

For more information about Stop Smoking services in Birmingham, go to: www.bhamcommunity.nhs.uk/

 
comments powered by Disqus

Journalists

Graeme Brown
Regional Head of Business
Enda Mullen
Business Reporter
Cillian O’ Brien
Business Reporter
Jon Griffin
Business Reporter
Alison Jones
Features writer
Ben Hurst
News Editor
Jonathan Walker
Political Editor