One third of young mums smoking during pregnancy

ONE third of young mothers under 20 are still smoking in the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy, according to the latest national statistics from the AIHW.

The AIHW's Australia's mothers and babies report found one in eight women who gave birth in 2013 smoked at some time during their pregnancy.

Figures show Western Queensland reported the highest incidence of mothers smoking during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy at 25 per cent, compared to a median of 14 per cent nationally.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the figures were concerning, and highlighted the need for joint action to help Queensland women quit smoking.

"It's crucial that pregnant women in Queensland continue to receive relevant resources and support to quit smoking," Ms Clift said.

"The report found women smoking during pregnancy dropped from 15 per cent in 2009 to 12 per cent in 2013, but more needs to be done to drive that figure down further.

"Mothers living in remote and very remote areas had higher rates of smoking during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

"The report also found almost half of Indigenous mothers smoked (47 per cent), compared with 13 per cent of non-Indigenous mothers.

"Action on smoking requires the cooperation of all levels of government, health agencies, and the community sector, for all population groups in Queensland.

"We must continue smoke free strategies for the benefit of Queensland's next generation."

Smoking while pregnant can cause a range of health complications for both the mother and child, including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, SIDS and the likelihood a child will have problems with lung development and lung function.

Queensland Health's Health Contact Centre Coordinator Shelley Peardon said Quitline (13 78 48) had supported more than 120 pregnant women on their quit journey so far this year.

''No matter what stage of life you're currently in, our Quitline counsellors are here to support any Queenslanders who wish to quit smoking,'' Ms Peardon said.

''Our Quitline service is a confidential and free service for people who want to quit smoking.

''No matter who you are, the service will provide you with information, advice and assistance tailored to your particular needs.

''With counsellors available from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, the right time to quit smoking is now.''

Ms Peardon said she urged pregnant women to call the Quitline team today.

''We're here to help and we can work with you to create a smoke-free future for you and your new bub.'' 

Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year. About 370 of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure. 

On September 1 2016, new laws will come into effect banning smoking at public transport waiting points, pedestrian malls, aged care facilities, specified national parks and at or near children's organised sporting events and skate parks in Queensland. 

Queensland mums, and expectant mothers, are urged to call Quitline (13 7848) for access to counselling and free nicotine replacement therapy. 

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at or 13 11 20.

Topics:  cancer smoking

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