One in six women giving birth in the Bradford district still class themselves as a smoker when they have their baby, according to new figures.

A report on smoking in pregnancy, published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, shows a clear North-South divide, with the percentage of women still smoking at delivery higher in Northern England.

Babies from deprived backgrounds are more likely to be born to mothers who smoke and to have much greater exposure to secondhand smoke in childhood. Smoking in pregnancy can cause a range of serious health problems, including a lower birth weight, pre-term birth, placental complications and perinatal death.

The report shows 13 per cent of women who gave birth in hospitals across England in 2011-12 were smokers at the time of their delivery. This is down from a little more than 15 per cent in 2006-7.

In Bradford and Airedale, from January to March this year, 2,085 women gave birth, of which 330 classed themselves as smokers – 15.8 per cent. Over the whole of 2011/2012 the figure is 15.6 per cent.

Nationally, the number of women who smoke in pregnancy has fallen over the past five years. However, data for Bradford and Airedale Primary Care Trust (PCT) reveals that in 2006-7 the percentage of pregnant women classing themselves as a smoker at the time of delivery was as low as 12.4 per cent.

The following year it crept up to 13.9 per cent and was 15 per cent in 2008-9. In 2009-10 it was 14.7 per cent and in 2010-11, 15.7 per cent.

Lorraine Bradbury, from the stop smoking service at NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, said: “A new stop smoking clinic runs at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s antenatal clinic and there is a similar clinic at Keighley Health Centre.

“All pregnant women are asked whether they smoke at their booking in appointment and referrals are made to the stop smoking service.