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Here’s how to close the gap on Indigenous women smoking during pregnancy

Gillian Sandra Gould writes in The Conversation (21.7.16) about the high incidence of smoking among pregnant Indigenous women, and suggests policy and practical measures to address the issue.

'Almost half of pregnant Indigenous women smoke compared to one in eight in the non-Indigenous population. This means 7,000-9,000 Indigenous Australian babies every year are exposed to smoking in the womb.

'Children exposed to tobacco smoke before birth are at increased risk of “glue ear”, which causes hearing loss, learning problems and behavioural problems. They are also at greater risk of asthma and bronchiolitis in childhood, and chronic lung disease in adulthood.

'Children born to mothers who smoke are more likely to become smokers. Some try smoking as young as five years old.

'Our research shows women are well aware of the risks of smoking for their babies, and want to do something about it.'


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