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Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Associate Minister Nicky Wagner welcome a new report which shows a continued downward trend in the percentage of pregnant women smoking.

The latest Report on Maternity shows 14.2 per cent of pregnant women smoked early in their pregnancy, down 2 per cent compared to 2008. That’s around 1,170 fewer pregnant women smoking compared to seven years ago.

“Evidence shows the earlier pregnant women quit smoking, the better the chances are for their baby,” says Dr Coleman.

“Smoking is the primary preventable cause of stillbirth, premature delivery and low birth-weight for babies. It also increases babies’ risk of Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI).

“The Government recently set the goal of reducing the overall rate of SUDI by 86 per cent and 94 per cent for Maori by 2025. To do this we have made reducing the rate of smoking in pregnancy even further a focus area for the National SUDI Prevention Programme.”

“This efforts to stump out pregnant women’s smoking habits are part of a much larger work plan,” says Ms Wagner.

“The Government is taking a sustained, evidence-based approach to reducing smoking, including implementing standardised packaging, legalising e-cigarettes and broadening smokefree policies at the local and regional level.

“We’ve made solid progress over the last few years, reducing daily smoking rates from more than 18 per cent to about 14 per cent. But we’re now at the hard end, and many smokers tell me they need help to quit.  

“I look forward to releasing smoking cessation data and an update on the Government’s e-cigarette legislation in the coming days.”

The 2015 Report on Maternity can be found here.

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