Pregnancy: Smoking Rates

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 2018.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 12:00 am, 24th July 2018

What steps he is taking to help reduce the rates of smoking during pregnancy.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Smoking rates are at their lowest ever, but we need to make more progress on tackling smoking in pregnancy, as I outlined in the general debate last Thursday. We are determined to redouble our efforts in this area, because smoking is still the biggest preventable killer in our country today.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. Smoking rates among pregnant women are still stubbornly high. What steps can he take to encourage the partners of pregnant women to give up smoking so that both partners play a part in preventing damage to the unborn child?

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

My hon. Friend makes a good point, which he made in last week’s debate. Public Health England and NHS England will continue to work with local areas in our constituencies to promote evidence-based ways of identifying and supporting pregnant smokers to quit. The overall ambitions in the tobacco control plan, which I published a year ago last week, will touch the general population, which of course includes the partners of pregnant women.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

Has the Department carried out investigations into the effects of vaping during pregnancy? If so, what are the results?

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Vaping and e-cigarettes were part of the Stoptober campaign that we ran last October through Public Health England. I am often criticised for not promoting vaping enough, and I am sometimes criticised for promoting it too much, which possibly gives me a steer. The advice is clear that the best thing to do, whether someone is pregnant or otherwise, is not to smoke.