Tobacco: Pregnant smokers ignore risks

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The Independent Online
More women are smoking during pregnancy because they do not believe it is a danger to themselves or the baby, it was revealed yesterday.

Fifty per cent of pregnant women who smoke have their first cigarette within half an hour of waking up, with 20 per cent smoking within five minutes. And pregnant women who smoke are more likely to deny the dangers of smoking than non-smokers, according to research by the Health Education Authority.

The findings come as an increasing number of women chose to continue smoking during pregnancy despite it being linked with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, low birth weight, increased risk of miscarriage and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In 1996, 32 per cent of pregnant women were regular smokers compared with 29 per cent in 1995. According to the research, which will be presented to the 10th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Peking this weekend, 93 per cent of smokers, compared with 41 per cent of non-smokers, do not think cutting down or stopping smoking during pregnancy is important.