One in five pregnant women in Warwickshire continue to smoke when they are ready to give birth.
This is one of the findings of a report by the county’s director of public health, as the county council prepares to take over the running of public health services for the first time in 39 years.
Dr John Linnane’s report ‘Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future’ shows that 16.7 per cent of pregnant women were smoking at the time of delivery in Warwick and Stratford districts. The figure was 19.6 per cent for Warwickshire, compared to 13.2 per cent in England.
It was estimated that 10.7 per cent of children in Stratford district, 12.6 per cent in Warwick district and 15 per cent in Warwickshire were thought to be living in poverty. This compared to 21.9 per cent in England.
And some 15.8 per cent of children in year six in Stratford district and 14.9 per cent in Warwick district were classed as obese, against 16.2 per cent in Warwickshire and 19 per cent in England.
Dr Linnane said: “How can we have one in five babies being born in the county who have effectively already been smoking for nine months at the time they take their first breath?”
Cllr Bob Stevens, the county councillor responsible for policy on health, said: “Clearly there are areas which require our attention and action - the ‘return’ of public health to local government provides a renewed opportunity to address these issues.”