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One in seven pregnant women still smoke

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/08/2017

One in seven women still smoke while pregnant despite the risks of stillbirth and premature delivery, according to the government.

The latest figures show 14.2 per cent of pregnant woman continued with the habit during the early stages of pregnancy.

That's down 2 per cent compared to 2008, according to Report on Maternity figures announced by associate health minister Nicky Wagner.

He welcomed the reduction, which equates to around 1170 women, but said more had to be done.

"We've made solid progress over the last few years, reducing daily smoking rates from more than 18 per cent to 14 per cent," he said.

"But we're now at the hard end, and many smokers tell me they need help to quit."

Smoking during pregnancy can also increase the risk of Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy, the rates of which the government has set targets to reduce.

It's hoped the overall number of SUDI deaths will fall by 86 per cent, and 94 per cent for Maori, by 2025.

Lowering the rate of smoking during pregnancy is part of the plan to achieve that target.

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