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Smoking (Expectant Mothers)

Volume 888: debated on Monday 17 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her estimate of the percentage of expectant mothers who (a) are normally smokers and (b) arc normally smokers but give up smoking during pregnancy; and if she is satisfied with the measures being taken to make expectant mothers aware of the risks of smoking during pregnancy.

The information as requested is not available. However, in a survey to evaluate the Health Education Council's campaign on smoking and pregnancy in early 1974, it was found that following the campaign only 29 per cent. of a sample of pregnant women said that they were smokers, compared with 44 per cent. of a sample of non-pregnant women. A survey conducted before the campaign showed no significant differences between the smoking habits of pregnant and non-pregnant women. Although this response to the campaign was encouraging it showed that further publicity was needed, and I am pleased that the Health Education Council is now carrying out a further campaign. Health advisers in touch with expectant mothers have also a very important and continuing role in making the risks of smoking known.