Preg­nant mums still smok­ing

The Courier-Mail - - FRONT PAGE - EX­CLU­SIVE NATASHA BITA

ONE in eight moth­ers has smoked dur­ing preg­nancy, with shock­ing new statis­tics ex­pos­ing smok­ing rates of 40 per cent in parts of Queens­land.

Of­fi­cial data re­veals alarm­ing rates of smok­ing among preg­nant women, despite doc­tors’ warn­ings of the health threats to un­born ba­bies.

Be­tween 2013 and 2015 a stag­ger­ing 40 per cent of new moth­ers in far north Queens­land, 30 per cent in the Bur­nett re­gion and nearly a quar­ter of those in Ca­bool­ture and Ip­swich smoked while preg­nant, ac­cord­ing to statis­tics from the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Health and Wel­fare.

Ba­bies ex­posed to smoke risk be­ing un­der­weight and still­born.

Ba­bies in those re­gions were more likely to be born un­der­weight.

Aus­tralian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Michael Gan­non, an ob­ste­tri­cian, said smok­ing starved ba­bies of oxy­gen and nu­tri­ents and could cause pre­ma­ture births.

He said the lat­est re­search showed that ba­bies ex­posed to smok­ing in the womb were more likely to suf­fer obe­sity or di­a­betes when they grew up.

“There is no ex­cuse for not un­der­stand­ing to­bacco smok­ing is dan­ger­ous,” Dr Gan­non told The Courier Mail.

“There is a risk of still births, low-weight and preterm ba­bies. But smok­ing is a very dif­fi­cult habit to kick.

“Some women do man­age to quit, but preg­nancy can be a stress­ful time so some of them will latch back in. Nico­tine is a highly ad­dic­tive sub­stance.”

Queens­land Health Min­is­ter Steven Miles said he was con­cerned that the lat­est data showed 12.4 per cent of Queens­land moth­ers smoked dur­ing preg­nancy. But he was pleased that the rate had fallen 6 per cent in six years.

He said dads needed to kick the habit too.

“There is no safe level of smok­ing, and the more you smoke, the more harm you do to your­self and your baby,’’ he said.

“But it’s not just mums that have to make big changes – fa­thers need to step up too. Pas­sive smok­ing can also have an im­pact, so if you find out you’re go­ing to be a dad you should quit as soon as pos­si­ble.’’

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