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One in five North East women smoke during pregnancy

June 13, 2013: Almost one in five women who gave birth in the North East in 2012-13 classed themselves as a smoker when they had their baby, new figures show.

Nearly 5,700 women (19.7 per cent of 28,920) said they still smoked according to today's Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) report, which also shows this prevalence has been highest in the North East for the last six years.

London had the lowest prevalence in 2012-13 at about one in 17 (5.7 per cent, or 7,000 out of 122,320) and also had the lowest prevalence in each of the last six years.

Blackpool Primary Care Trust (PCT) had the highest prevalence of all 147 PCTS who returned validated data with almost one in three women smoking during pregnancy (30.8 per cent, or 520 out of 1,700). Westminster PCT had the lowest rate at about one in 43 (2.3 per cent, or 54 out of 2,380).

Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery is a quarterly report for the period January 2013 to March 2013 but also gives an annual picture that can be compared back to 2006-073.

Today's figures show a continual fall since 2006-07 in the number of women in England smoking at the time of delivery.

In the 12 months to March 2013 in England:

  • There were fewer women smoking at the time of delivery (12.7 per cent, or 83,490 out of 658,110 maternities) compared to the previous year (13.2 per cent, or 87,640 out of 664,690 maternities in 2011-12) and considerably fewer than five years ago in 2007-08 (14.4 per cent, or 91,570 out of 634,040).
  • The PCT breakdown of today's figures is similar to that of previous years. In 2010-11 the highest prevalence rate of women smoking at the time of delivery was Blackpool PCT (29.7 per cent) and the lowest was Westminster PCT (2.9 per cent).

HSCIC Chief Executive Alan Perkins said: "Today's figures show that while fewer pregnant women are smoking across England, mothers in the North East have been top of the smoker's prevalence table for six years running.

"Today's report is crucial for addressing those regions and PCTs where the rates of smoking during pregnancy are particularly high and are likely to alert local-level health professionals."

View the full report at


Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). The trusted source of authoritative data and information relating to health and care, HSCIC plays a fundamental role in driving better care, better services and better outcomes for patients.

    It supports the delivery of IT infrastructure, information systems and standards to ensure information flows efficiently and securely across the health and social care system to improve patient outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 130 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. Figures above 100 have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  3. National level comparisons cannot be made with years prior to 2006/07 as the 95 per cent coverage standard required for publication was not achieved in earlier years.
  4. Chapter 3 of the Infant Feeding Survey 2010: Early Results available at contains survey-based information on the smoking status of mothers throughout their pregnancy. The 2010 Infant Feeding Survey (IFS) early results state that just over a quarter of mothers (26 per cent) in England smoked at some point in the 12 months immediately before or during their pregnancy. Of mothers who smoked before or during their pregnancy, just over half (55 per cent) gave up at some point before the birth. The IFS also contains analyses which illustrate the strong association between smoking throughout pregnancy and variables such as socio-economic classification and age of mother. The regional variations highlighted in this press notice are likely to be explained to a certain extent by these associations.  For example, regions with higher proportions of mothers in more deprived socio-economic categories are likely to show a higher proportion of women smoking at the time of delivery. Furthermore, regions with higher proportions of female smokers are also likely to show a higher proportion of women smoking at the time of delivery. Table 1.11 of the General Lifestyle Survey (GLF) 2009 Report available at presents the prevalence of cigarette smoking among women by region of England.
  5. Maternities are assigned to a PCT and Strategic Health Authority (SHA) according to the geographical location of the GP surgery they are registered at.
  6. Reports in the series prior to 2011/12 quarter 3 are available at
  7. Women who are known to be smokers at the time of delivery are defined as a woman who smokes cigarettes at all. If a woman intends to give up smoking after the delivery, but was a smoker up until the delivery, they are still included in the count. Women who are known not to be smokers at the time of delivery are defined as a woman who does not smoke at all. Women whose smoking status is not known should not be included as non-smokers.
  8. For media enquires please call 0845 257 6990 or email
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