31 May 2019
To highlight World No Tobacco Day, NSW Health is reminding the public of the dangers of smoking while pregnant.

Dr Jo Mitchell, Executive Director Centre for Population Health said the latest data shows 14.8 per cent of adults aged 16 years or older were smokers last year - a significant decline from 18 per cent in 2009, but relatively stable since 2015.

“Latest figures show 10.3 per cent of adults in NSW last year smoked daily and 4.5 per cent, occasionally,” Dr Mitchell said.

“There has also been a steady decline in smoking among pregnant women in NSW, from 10.4 per cent in 2012 to 8.8 per cent in 2017.

“However, that still means 8000 women smoked during pregnancy, which poses a significant risk to their own health, as well as their unborn babies.”

Tobacco smoke contains over 7000 chemicals, including compounds known to cause cancer and other toxins which are potentially toxic to a developing foetus.

Clinical Professor Michael Nicholl, Senior Clinical Advisor of Obstetrics said smoking during pregnancy has been associated with poorer pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and premature births.

“The potential health impacts on infants include restricted growth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and stillbirth,” Clinical Professor Nicholl said.

“Even when a mother wants to quit, it can be a struggle. Pregnant women who  smoke and need support to help quit, should talk with their doctor, midwife or a trained adviser at NSW Quitline.”

Family, friends and others living with a pregnant woman are advised to quit smoking to support a woman’s attempt to quit and the health of the unborn baby.

Across NSW, health care professionals provide advice and support to assist  pregnant women to quit smoking, as part of routine antenatal care.

The Quitline provides a confidential, telephone based service to help smokers quit. Pregnant women and their household members who smoke can call 13 78 48 for caring, professional support.

 In 2018-19, the NSW Government is investing more than $13.5 million on tobacco control, including quit smoking support, compliance and enforcement of smoke-free laws, targeted programs for vulnerable groups and public awareness education campaigns.