1 in 3 young mums still smoke in first 20 weeks of pregnancy

Almost one third of mothers under 20 still smoke in the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy, new national figures have found.

The AIHW’s latest Australia’s mothers and babies report found one in nine women nationally smoked at some time during their pregnancy in 2014, the latest figures available.

The study showed 19 per cent of mothers in Western Queensland smoked in the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy – the highest incidence in the state.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said smoking during pregnancy increased the risk of adverse health outcomes for both mothers and babies.

“While the number of mothers smoking during pregnancy nationally has declined in the past five years, the data still highlights concern for the health of Queensland mothers and babies,” Ms Clift said.

“The report found mothers under 20 and those living in remote and very remote areas were more likely to smoke in the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy.

“The findings also show women who smoked during pregnancy attended their first antenatal visit later, and had one less antenatal care visit than those who didn’t smoke.

“The figures are concerning, and highlight the need for joint action from all levels of government, health agencies and the community sector to address smoking in Queensland.”

The AIHW report found one in five Australian mothers who gave birth in 2014 and who reported smoking during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, did not continue to smoke after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“It’s crucial that pregnant women in Queensland continue to receive resources and support to quit smoking,” Ms Clift said.

“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.”

All pregnant women in Queensland can receive specialised assistance with quitting through Hospital and Health Services and the Quitline.

Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year. Two out of every three smokers will die from their habit and tragically, and at least one Queenslander will die every week from second-hand smoke exposure – having never smoked a cigarette in their life.

Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171