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  • Smoking during pregnancy is closely associated with socioeconomic factors and is therefore a major health inequality. Supporting women to have a smoke-free pregnancy is vitally important for reducing infant mortality. It is the main modifiable risk factor for a range of poor pregnancy outcomes
  • Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of premature delivery and stillbirth. Maternal smoking postpartum is associated with a threefold increase in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome
  • Smoking prevalence varies significantly between communities and social groups, with pregnant women in more disadvantaged groups being more likely to smoke than in more affluent groups, similarly those aged under 20 being more likely to smoke than those who are older
  • Children who grow up with a smoking parent are also more likely to become smokers themselves, further perpetuating the cycle of inequality
  • Interventions to help women to quit smoking have been shown to be cost-effective, and stopping smoking early in pregnancy can almost entirely prevent damage to the baby and help prevent additional treatment costs
  • Babies born to smoking mothers who quit early in their pregnancy have the same or similar rates of stillbirth, prematurity, low birth weight and small for gestational age, when compared to babies born to non-smoking mothers (RCM, NHS Health Education England)