Still Greater Awareness of the Dangers of Smoking during Pregnancy needed: Beggs

On highlighting some local areas with over a third of all expectant mothers smoking, Ulster Unionist Health spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA has said that a concentrated effort is needed to further increase awareness of the dangers of mothers smoking during pregnancy and during their children’s early years.

Roy Beggs MLA said:

“Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is vital to ensuring they have a healthy start in life. The statistics available on the Children & Young People’s Strategic Partnership (CYPSP) website make for shocking reading. They reveal that in some wards in Northern Ireland the percentage of mums who smoke is as high as 55% in the Old Warren ward, Lisburn, despite the health risks to their children.

Locally in my constituency of East Antrim, 41% of mothers in the Clipperstown ward smoke, and 39% of mothers in Sunnylands and Blackcave still smoke.”

The Ulster Unionist member of the Health committee said: “There are huge risks for the unborn child caused by smoking during pregnancy. Smoking can also increase the risk of on-going health problems for young children such as asthma. Further effort is needed to reduce the numbers of mothers smoking, and the additional health inequality caused by smoking.

“However, it is encouraging to note that with the right support and education, the percentage of mothers smoking can be dramatically reduced. Within East Antrim, there has been a dramatic reduction in the percentage of mothers who smoke following Early Years educational health support from Horizon SureStart, Health visitors and smoking cessation support from local pharmacists”.

Roy Beggs MLA helped establish the Carrickfergus children and Young Peoples locality group and is the current chair. He is a founding member of Horizon Surestart and continues to serve on the committee. Official statistics show that between 2008 and 2011 there has been a dramatic reduction in some areas in the proportion of mums who smoke.

Roy Beggs MLA highlighted this positive news. “The number of mothers who smoke has dropped in the Antiville area of Larne from 60% to 22% and in the Love Lane area of Carrickfergus from 50% to 22%. We now know what can work. We need a further concentrated effort to ensure that the next generation of children are not born with the burden of health problems caused by smoking during pregnancy or suffer from tobacco smoke during their childhood”

Note to editor

CYPSP Website

Link to map of Blackcave ward, Larne which covers Seacourt and most of the ‘Factory’district:

Map of Clipperstown:

Map of Sunnylands:

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