Notes on the data: Mothers and babies

Women who reported smoking at any time during a pregnancy, 2017 to 2019


Policy context:  Maternal smoking during pregnancy is a major risk factor that can adversely affect infant health, increasing the likelihood of low birth weight, pre-term birth, fetal and neonatal death, and SIDS.[1] In 2016–18 in Australia, one in ten women (9.6%) smoked during pregnancy, with rates over four times as high among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (43.4%) and those living in remote areas (34.6%, compared with 7.2% for those living in Major Cities) and over six times as high as those living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas (17.7% in the most disadvantaged areas, compared with 2.8% in the least disadvantaged areas).


  1. Laws PJ, Grayson N, Sullivan EA. Smoking and pregnancy. (AIHW Cat. no. PER 33). Sydney: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 2006

Notes:  Data published previous to 2015 to 2017 were collected from each State and Territory health agency and are likely to have excluded people who live in one State/Territory and used a service in another. This data release uses data, provided to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare by each State and Territory, in which residents of another jurisdiction were generally coded to their correct usual address. This change will affect the time series published for quintiles and Remoteness Areas.

Note that as the data are aggregated over three years, they may include women who gave birth more than once during the time period.


Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Area/p>


Numerator:  Women who reported that they smoked at any time during their pregnancy (data over 3 years)


Denominator:  Number of women who gave birth (data over 3 years)


Detail of analysis:  Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, on behalf of the States and Territories.


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