Smoking while pregnant can cause a range of health complications for both the mother and child, but it’s still happening.

Cancer Council Queensland has called for the urgent introduction of smoke free spaces to help address the prevalence of maternal smoking in Queensland.

The rate of Brisbane women still smoking while pregnant is as high as 13 per cent in some parts of the region.The call follows the release of a new National Health Performance Authority report revealing that smoking rates during pregnancy were 13 per cent in the Metro North Brisbane catchment, and 13.7 per cent in the Greater Metro South Brisbane catchment.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the findings underpin the need for smoke free spaces.

“Smoking while pregnant can cause a range of health complications for both the mother and child,” Ms Clift said. “There are a range of factors that can influence rates of smoking in different areas, including socio-economic status and other demographic characteristics of people living in the region.

“Smoking during pregnancy causes a range of complications including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, SIDS and the likelihood a child will have problems with lung development and lung function.

“It’s crucial that pregnant women in Queensland continue to receive resources and support to quit smoking.

“At the same time, we urgently need to continue with progressive reforms – smoke free spaces – to guarantee fresh air and healthy childhoods for our next generation.”

Ms Clift said smoke free spaces across Queensland would encourage more Queenslanders to quit.

“Smoke free spaces will accelerate Queensland’s quit rate, continuing our historic achievements at reducing the prevalence of smoking, with flow-on effects for rates of maternal smoking, promoting the health of mothers and their unborn babies.

“We have made significant progress in Queensland because of Government action on smoking, resulting in a decrease in the maternal smoking rate from 20 per cent in 2006 to 15 per cent in 2012, a significant improvement.

“We must continue smoke free strategies to see this trend continue for the benefit of Queensland’s next generation.”

All pregnant women in Queensland can receive specialised assistance with quitting through Hospital and Health Services and the Quitline. Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.