Government risks missing ambition as rates of smoking during pregnancy not falling fast enough

Government risks missing ambition as rates of smoking during pregnancy not falling fast enough

2 July 2019

Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group news release

Government risks missing ambition as rates of smoking during pregnancy not falling fast enough

New NHS data published today [1] shows that the Government is at risk of missing its target to reduce rates of smoking in pregnancy to 6% or less by 2022. [2] The Annual Smoking at Time of Delivery (SATOD) data show there has been no significant decline in rates of women smoking over the last year, with prevalence at 10.6% for 2018/19 compared to 10.8% in 2017/18.

Just 28 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have met the Government’s 6% ambition and there remains substantial geographical variation with 8 CCGs reporting SATOD rates of over 20%.

Dr Clea Harmer, Co-Chair Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group [3] and Chief Executive of Sands, said: “Today’s figures show a worrying lack of progress in supporting all women to have smokefree pregnancies. Smoking is a leading cause of still birth and neonatal death and without urgent action the Government is at risk of missing not only the ambition of the Tobacco Control Plan but also its aim to halve rates of still births, neonatal and maternal deaths by 2025.

The Challenge Group is calling for increased support for women from disadvantaged backgrounds where smoking in pregnancy rates are highest. This should include greater use of financial incentive schemes, supporting women between pregnancies and providing support to fathers and other household members.”

ENDS

Notes to the editor:

About the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group

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

The Group is a partnership between professional organisations, the voluntary sector and academia. It presented its report and recommendations to the Public Health Minister 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 Sterling.

Members of the Challenge Group are available for interview. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or press@ash.org.uk

References:

[1] NHS Digital. Smoking at Time of Delivery England 2018/19. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-women-s-smoking-status-at-time-of-delivery-england/statistics-on-womens-smoking-status-at-time-of-delivery-england-quarter-4-january-2019-to-march-2019

[2] Department of Health and Social Care. Towards a Smokefree Generation: A tobacco control plan for England. 2017. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/630217/Towards_a_Smoke_free_Generation_-_A_Tobacco_Control_Plan_for_England_2017-2022__2_.pdf

[3] For more information about the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group see: http://smokefreeaction.org.uk/smokefree-nhs/smoking-in-pregnancy-challenge-group/