Pregnant smokers in Cumbria on the rise

Expectant mothers in Cumbria are among the worst in Britain for smoking during pregnancy, reports.

New figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) found that 12.7 per cent of women in Britain smoke during their pregnancy, despite countless warnings detailing the risks to mother and baby.

In Cumbria, however, the figure is even worse, with 15.6 per cent of pregnant women still lighting up whilst carrying their baby.

Furthermore, the results represent a reversal of the annual trend which saw volumes decline. Between 2009 and 2010, 18.2 per cent of pregnant women smoked in Cumbria. By 2010/11 it was 16.1 per cent and then 15.1 per cent in 2011/12. The figure for 2012/13, then, illustrates a bucking of the trend with a 0.5 per cent rise.

Despite the poor results, Cumbria was still a way off the worst-performing area, which was Blackpool, where 30.8 per cent of expectant mums smoked. At the other end of the scale, Westminster performed the best, as only 2.3 per cent of pregnant women in the London suburb smoked.

The trends could see more women in the North of England seeking a counselling course to help them kick the habit in the hope of doing so quickly.

Commenting on the results, senior health improvement specialist for Cumbria County Council, Su Sear, told "Obviously, we're very disappointed we have this slight rise but, looking at it quarter-by-quarter, the figures are still dropping.

"We would urge any pregnant woman who is still smoking, who is trying to quite or is thinking of giving up, to remember there is support available from their midwife and from their GP."