Fewer pregnant women are smoking now than in the eight years since data collection began, according to figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
The number of pregnant women who classed themselves as smokers is was 12 per cent, the lowest level since in 2006/7. The total number has fallen from 83,490 out of 658,110 maternities to 75,910 out of 632,960 maternities in the previous year. Despite the number of maternities having increased by 5 per cent since 2006, the number of pregnant smokers fell by 16 per cent. However, the national target of 11 per cent has not yet been reached, although more than a third of CCGs have reported achieving this target.
The report, titled Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery showed that there was a disparity in smoking rates between areas. London showed rates of 5.4 per cent, while the highest rates, found in Durham, Darlington and Tees, were at 20.6 per cent. At CCG level, NHS Blackpool had the highest prevalence of pregnant smokers, with more than a quarter of maternities classified as smokers. Richmond, in London, reported just 1.9 per cent of maternities as smokers.