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Study finds 17 per cent of pregnant women smoke

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An anti-smoking group has raised concerns about the number of pregnant women who smoke. An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on mothers and babies based on figures collected in 2005 has found that 17.4 per cent of women admitted to smoking while they were pregnant.

The Action on Smoking and Health group says it is a very disturbing trend.

Spokesperson Anne Jones says that despite Commonwealth funds specifically aimed at reducing smoking rates among pregnant women, there appears to be little progress.

"It's definitely not good enough," she said.

"We only in the last couple of months saw a new study on cot death, on sudden infant death syndrome, and they said in the study that tobacco was the major risk factor for cot death, yet we have nearly a quarter of pregnant women smoking.

"They're not only harming their own health but that of their unborn child.

"Overall what we're seeing in Australia is small declines in the general smoking population, but very little movement in the groups that are at high risk such as pregnant women, Indigenous communities and people with mental illness." © 2007 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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