Children are at risk from smoking mums

ONE in five Ipswich women continue to smoke cigarettes while they are pregnant despite warnings they are harming their child and even risking killing them.

The new National Health Performance Authority report reveals smoking rates during pregnancy were 19.6 per cent in the West Moreton-Oxley catchment that includes Ipswich.

The rate on the Gold Coast sits at 12.6%, Brisbane 13%, Sunshine Coast 15.6%, while in places including central, north and western Queensland, more than a quarter of pregnant women smoke.

The figures were even more shocking for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who gave birth and smoked during pregnancy with 53.9% in West Moreton-Oxley.

The rate across Australia ranged from 1.8% in Sydney North Shore and beaches to 33.1% in far west NSW.

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said smoking while pregnant could cause a range of health complications for mother and child.


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"Smoking during pregnancy causes a range of complications including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, SIDS and the likelihood a child will have problems with lung development and lung function," Ms Clift said.

"There are a range of factors that can influence rates of smoking in different areas, including socio-economic status and other demographic characteristics of people living in the region.

"It's crucial that pregnant women in Queensland continue to receive resources and support to quit smoking.

"At the same time, we urgently need to continue with progressive reforms - smoke-free spaces - to guarantee fresh air and healthy childhoods for our next generation."

Ms Clift said smoke-free spaces across Queensland would encourage more Queenslanders to quit.

She said Cancer Council Queensland's call for the urgent introduction of smoke-free spaces would help address the prevalence of maternal smoking in Queensland.



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"Smoke-free spaces will accelerate Queensland's quit rate, continuing our historic achievements at reducing the prevalence of smoking, with flow-on effects for rates of maternal smoking, promoting the health of mothers and their unborn babies," she said.

"We have made significant progress in Queensland because of government action on smoking, resulting in a decrease in the maternal smoking rate from 20% in 2006 to 15% in 2012, a significant improvement.

"We must continue smoke-free strategies to see this trend continue for the benefit of Queensland's next generation."

All pregnant women can receive specialised assistance with quitting through hospital and health services and the Quitline.

Smokers can get free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848) or join the quest to quit at

For more information see or call the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.



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Topics:  national health performance authority smoking

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