The number of women who smoke in pregnancy in Somerset continues to fall in contrast to the national picture where progress has stalled in recent years.
Figures released today (Tuesday 3 July) show the national rate of 10.8% has not changed since last year, but in Somerset the rate fell from 13.1% to 11.6% last year, and the latest quarterly figures (Jan-Mar 2018) were down to 9.4% in the county.
Public Health Specialist Stewart Brock praised the work of staff in NHS maternity services and the specialist stop smoking service, Mums2Be Smokefree, in driving down the smoking rate.
He said: “We have had fantastic collaborative working between Somerset County Council and the NHS locally for the last five years to make tackling smoking in pregnancy a key priority for all staff working to support pregnant women. We are really reaping the benefits now, and most importantly ensuring that many more babies are being born smokefree, with women and babies avoiding the complications and harmful effects that smoking can have.”
Cllr Christine Lawrence, Chair of the Somerset Health and Wellbeing Board, is delighted with the progress. She said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable harm in pregnancy, so every woman we help to enjoy a smokefree pregnancy is giving her baby the best possible start in life.
“The fact that we continue to successfully drive down the smoking rate in pregnancy in Somerset while progress elsewhere has stalled is testament to the success of the unique Mums2Be Smokefree service we designed and implemented here. But we will not rest on our laurels. 9 out of 10 pregnant women in this county now have
smokefree pregnancies. We want to help the remaining 1 in 10 give their babies the best start in life too.”
For advice on how to stop smoking, please contact Mums2Be Smokefree can be contacted via Smokefreelife Somerset on 01823 356222.
Note to Editors:
1. The smoking in pregnancy rate in Somerset has fallen from 18.9% in 2010/11 to 11.6% in 2017/18. In the same time period the national rate has fallen from 13.5% to 10.8%.
2. The Mums2Be Smokefree service provides one-to-one dedicated support to pregnant women in their home or other place of their choosing throughout pregnancy
from a named Quit Coach. The women also have access to free stop smoking medication, and a Facebook group for mutual support.