Despite the health risks to mums and bubs, nearly 10 per cent of mothers on the Gold Coast are still smoking in the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy, according to new national figures.
Data from the Federal Government’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show one in nine local pregnant women – the sixth highest in all of Queensland – are puffing away on cigarettes.
Alarmingly, mothers-to-be under the age of 20 are the most likely to still smoke.
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Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said: “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.
“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,”said Ms Clift.
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.
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).