Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group
UPDATE Physical copies of Challenge Group resources are now available to order for maternity and health visiting services
Who we are
The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group is a coalition of organisations committed to reducing rates of smoking in pregnancy. The Group was established in 2012 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 the SPECTRUM Research Consortium 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:
|Maternal Smoking||Secondhand smoke exposure|
|Low birthweight||2 times more likely||Average 30-40g lighter|
|Heart Defects||25% more likely||Increased risk|
|Stillbirth||47% more likely||Possible increase|
|Preterm birth||27% more likely||Possible increase|
|Miscarriage||32% more likely||Increased risk|
|Sudden Infant Death||3 times more likely||45% more likely|
Latest report - Getting back on track: Delivering a smokefree start for every child
This report from ASH and the Challenge Group sets out the action needed to turn the Government’s ambitions on smoking in pregnancy and a smokefree society into a reality. The full report can be downloaded here (pdf).
The report was launched on the 10th February 2021, at a joint meeting of the APPG on Smoking and Health and the APPG on Baby Loss. The event was attended by the Public Health Minister Jo Churchill, who reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to tackling smoking in pregnancy. You can view a recording of the event here.