Smoking rates among pregnant women fall to all time low of 11%

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 19 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h3335
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

Last year the number of women in England who were recorded as smokers at the time of giving birth fell to an all time low of 11.4%, down from 12% in 2012-13 and from 15% in 2006-07.

The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that 70 880 of 622 640 women who gave birth in 2014-15 were smokers.[1]

Since data were first collected in 2006-07 the number of women giving birth in England has risen by 3.6% (from 601 260), and the number of women recorded as smokers at the time of giving birth has fallen by 22% (from 90 890).

The report on smoking status at the time of delivery showed wide regional variation in the 12 months to March 2015. The highest prevalence was recorded in the Durham, Darlington and Tees area, where a fifth of women reported that they were smokers when they gave birth. The lowest prevalence, of one in 20 women, was in London.

Among clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) NHS Blackpool recorded the highest prevalence at 27%, and NHS Central London (Westminster) recorded the lowest prevalence at 2%.

Of the 211 CCGs in England, 43% (90 of 211) have met the national ambition to reduce rates of smoking in pregnancy to 11% or less by the end of 2015.

London was the best of the four commissioning regions in England, as all of its 32 CCGs met the national ambition. The south of England performed the next best (28 of 50 CCGs), followed by the Midlands and east of England (20 of 61 CCGs). The north of England performed the worst (10 of 68 CCGs).

Nick Hopkinson, honorary medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation, said that the latest figures showed an encouraging trend. But he added, “Regional variations in smoking while pregnant and variations according to levels of deprivation remain a cause for concern. If we want to see this improve, the government must support public health efforts and target resources in areas where rates are still high to help expecting mothers, or anyone else, wishing to quit smoking.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h3335


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