New NHS data shows that smoking in pregnancy fell to 9.5% last year, making it the first time rates have dropped below 10% since records began according to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed the finding but said that more work needs to be done to support women to stop smoking in pregnancy and beyond.
Clare Livingstone Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM said:
This is relatively good news and what is evident is that investment in stop smoking services and incentivisation is working in some areas. Reducing smoking in pregnancy is key to reducing stillbirths and will also have real benefits for the health of women and their babies in reducing other poor outcomes associated with smoking. That’s why it is critical that they get the support they need to stop smoking in as many ways as possible, and that we have the staffing and resources to do this.
The RCM has called on the Government to reverse cuts to public health funding which has seen the closure of many stop smoking services, in particular those services based in poorer communities where rates of deprivation and smoking are often higher.
Clare Livingstone added:
If the Government are serious about reducing smoking rates, this means reversing cuts to public health funding which have seen many stop smoking services close. This must be part of a broad package of support for healthier lifestyles, to improve the wellbeing of women and their families throughout and beyond pregnancy.
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