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Queensland mothers still smoking during pregnancy

The percentage of Queensland women who are smoking during pregnancy is above the national average, according to the latest data.

Executive Director of Queensland Health’s Preventative Health Branch Kaye Pulsford said while there was a steady decline in the number of mothers-to-be who smoked, the statistics were concerning.

“The latest figures show 12.4 per cent of women in Queensland smoked at some time during pregnancy – this is above the national average (10.4 per cent),” Ms Pulsford said.

“Rates were higher in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, where 12.4 per cent of mothers smoked compared with 9.9 per cent who smoked at or after 20 weeks gestation.

“Numerous studies have shown smoking during pregnancy can lead to a range of complications, including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and unexpected death in infants – just to name a few.

“There is no safe level of smoking – the more cigarettes you smoke while pregnant, the more harm you do to yourself and your baby.”

Ms Pulsford said smoking cessation interventions were a routine part of antenatal care in Queensland to help expecting mothers throughout their quit journey.

“While many women want to quit smoking, especially during pregnancy, the journey can be both challenging and confronting,” she said.

“That is why we offer a tailored quit program for expecting mothers and their partners. In fact, more than 415 pregnant women and their partners participated in the free program last year.

“We have also ensured our maternal and child health clinicians have access to a suite of resources and information to help them provide quit smoking advice during pregnancy.

“Queenslanders are also encouraged to call Quitline – a free and confidential call service, available 7 days a week – which supported more than 360 pregnant women in 2017.”

Perri Weeks smoked from the age of 11 so she knew quitting would be tough but the thought of not being around for her daughter was tougher.

“Quitting wasn’t easy but it’s worth it,” said Perri.

“The Quitline team were amazing, they really understood what I was going through and gave me some great advice particularly around keeping my hands busy which is a big thing when you’ve been smoking as long as I had.

“I’ve been smoke-free for five months now; food tastes better, smells smell better and I have more money and now I can be a great role model for my kids.”

Media contact: +61 7 3708 5376

Last updated: 8 February 2018