NSW mums-to-be butting out for their bubs

Fewer pregnant women are smoking in NSW compared with 20 years ago, but too many expectant mothers are still lighting up in some regional areas, according to the NSW Mothers and Babies 2016 report released Thursday.

The number of pregnant women smoking state-wide has dropped a whopping 61 per cent in the two decades to 2016.

The statistics suggest 8.3 per cent of expectant mothers smoke today across NSW, compared with almost 22 per cent in 1996.

But, in the Far West Local Health District - which includes the outback mining town of Broken Hill and surrounding areas - some 26.5 per cent of expectant mums are still lighting up.

NSW Health spokesperson Lyndal O'Leary said higher smoking rates were generally found in regional areas of lower socio-economic status and with larger Aboriginal populations.

"I see pregnant women smoking frequently across the western NSW region," Ms O'Leary told AAP.

"That is why we are building supportive environments to encourage pregnant women to quit."

The lowest rates of mothers-to-be smoking were found on Sydney's lower north shore, where only 0.5 per cent are smokers.

Expectant mothers who smoke risk having a stillbirth or a baby born with low birth weight which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even obesity.

Smoking can also lead to sudden infant death syndrome, asthma and lower respiratory illnesses.

"Smoking is very addictive and it is not always easy for people to give up," Ms O'Leary said.

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