About the Challenge Group

The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group was established in 2012 in response to a challenge from the then Public Health Minister. The aim of this group is to produce recommendations on how the smoking in pregnancy ambition contained in the Government’s tobacco strategy can be realised.

The Group is a partnership between the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists  and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the voluntary sector and academia. It presented its first report and recommendations in June 2013 and continues to meet annually to review progress.

The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group is jointly chaired by Dr. Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands, and Professor Linda Bauld of UKCTAS and the University of Edinburgh.

The case for action

When a woman smokes during pregnancy or when she is exposed to secondhand smoke, oxygen to the baby is restricted making the babies heart work faster and exposing the baby to harmful toxins. As a result, exposure to smoke in pregnancy is responsible for an increased rate of stillbirths, miscarriages and birth defects. The table below highlights the impact of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in pregnancy:

Latest report: Review of the Challenge 2018

The group launched a report on the 4th July 2018 calling for further Government action to tackle smoking in pregnancy. It examines the progress that has been made towards the Government’s target and outlines recommendations for the next steps.The full report can be downloaded here (pdf).

The Lullaby Trust have produced a report detailing the methods behind the statistics in the report. Download here (pdf).

The press release for the report was released on the 3 July 2018. You can read the press release here.


More information can be accessed below, including reports published by the group and training materials:

Challenge Group Resources | Smoking in Pregnancy Training Materials | Challenge Group Members