Smoking while pregnant linked to higher risk of cot death

1 October 2008

Women who smoke during pregnancy "are much more likely to have a child who dies from cot death", according to experts at Action on Smoking and Health.

A spokesperson for the charity warned that smoking while pregnant increases risk of the baby developing respiratory diseases, problems with development and even heightens the chances of cot death.

"Smoking increases the carbon monoxide levels in the blood and therefore deprives the baby of oxygen plus there are toxic substances … in tobacco smoke which can damage the baby," she explained.

"A lot of pregnant women think that it [the risk] is just a lower birth rate."

Research indicates that around ten million British adults currently smoke cigarettes, with 29 per cent of those aged between 20 and 24 being women.

According to the NHS, 18,341 pregnant women aimed for a quit date through its stop smoking services, with 9,574 successfully quitting at the four week follow-up, resulting in a success rate of 52 per cent.

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