Costs to the NHS of smoking in pregnancy for pregnant women and infants

Smoking in pregnancy imposes a considerable economic burden on society. Health care costs are imposed on the NHS, during pregnancy and in the year following birth, as a result of mothers continuing to smoke during pregnancy.

Costs to the NHS related to maternal increased risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, placenta previa, abruption of the placenta, preterm premature rupture of membranes and decreased risk of pre-eclampsia are estimated to be between £8 million and £64 million per year based on different costing methodologies.

In addition, costs related to infants’ increased risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, perinatal mortality, asthma, otitis media, and upper and lower respiratory infections are estimated to be between £12 million and £23.5 million per year.

It is possible to generate positive economic cost savings by introducing low-cost smoking cessation interventions during pregnancy. It is estimated that spending between £13.60 and £37 per pregnant smoker would yield positive cost savings for the NHS. This is purely in economic terms and does not include the health benefits to mothers and children. These cost estimates are conservative and are limited to NHS costs during pregnancy and the first year of life.



The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance for smoking cessation during pregnancy and following childbirth report and supporting evidence is also available on the NICE website. will be published in Summer 2010.

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