State’s smok­ing statis­tic con­cern

Western Times - - NEWS -

THE per­cent­age of Queens­land women who are smok­ing dur­ing pregnancy is above the na­tional av­er­age, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est data.

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Queens­land Health’s pre­ven­ta­tive health branch, Kaye Puls­ford, said while there was a steady de­cline in the num­ber of moth­ers-to-be who smoked, the statis­tics and their im­pli­ca­tions were con­cern­ing.

“The lat­est fig­ures show 12.4 per cent of women in Queens­land smoked at some time dur­ing pregnancy – this is above the na­tional av­er­age (10.4 per cent),” Ms Puls­ford said.

“Rates were higher in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, where 12.4 per cent of moth­ers smoked com­pared with 9.9 per cent who smoked at or af­ter 20 weeks ges­ta­tion.

“Nu­mer­ous stud­ies have shown smok­ing dur­ing pregnancy can lead to a range of com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing an in­creased risk of mis­car­riage, pre­ma­ture birth and un­ex­pected death in in­fants – just to name a few.

“There is no safe level of smok­ing – the more cig­a­rettes you smoke while preg­nant, the more harm you do to your­self and your baby.”

Ms Puls­ford said smok­ing ces­sa­tion in­ter­ven­tions were a rou­tine part of an­te­na­tal care in Queens­land to help ex­pect­ing moth­ers through­out their quit jour­ney.

“Queens­lan­ders are also en­cour­aged to call Quit­line – a free and con­fi­den­tial call ser­vice, avail­able seven days a week – which sup­ported more than 360 preg­nant women in 2017,” she said.

Perri Weeks smoked from the age of 11 so she knew quit­ting would be tough but the thought of not be­ing around for her daugh­ter was tougher.

“Quit­ting wasn’t easy but it’s worth it,” Ms Weeks said.

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