A leading research group is urging the Government to take improved measures in the action against the new figures presented today showing stark regional differences towards smoking during pregnancy.
Research revealed a staggering one in four expectant women residing in Blackpool admitted that they still smoked right up until the point that their babies had been born, a vast difference when compared to the one in 50 in Westminster.
Thanks partly to the introduction of e cigarette UK products, the national average for women smoking tobacco while pregnant dropped to 11% across England.
However, the new data sets cite that the habit still has a considerable effect on thousands of pregnancies annually. This is further reinforced by the fact that more than 5,000 of these cases are terminal every year.
The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group has set a target for the pregnancy smoking rate to realise an under 6% level in the next four years leading up to 2020. Group leaders are also calling for the gap to be narrowed between the rich and the poor.
The group, which is made up of an alliance of 20 organisations, has also stated that it wants increased and improved data collection, compulsory training for health professionals and an automatic referral for pregnant smokers to specialist services, with the exception of those who opt out.
At present, there are a number of regions who do not enquire as to whether women smoke in pregnancy or gather full data.