Smoking in pregnancy still an issue as Kent tries to meet government targets
Hundreds of Kent women are still smoking during pregnancy, latest figures suggest.
While the general take up of tobacco is in steady decline the same cannot be said for smoking during pregnancy.
According to a Kent County Council report 13.8% of pregnant women are still adopting the habit.
Around 58,500 smokers in Kent need to quit the habit by 2022 to meet Government targets, according to the statistics.
The ambitious target for a "smoke-free generation" was set last year, with a plan to reduce the prevalence to only 12% of the population.
If these targets are met, it is predicted there could be 620 fewer cases of lung cancer and 832 fewer incidents of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by 2032.
Quitting could also lift more than 460,000 smokers in England out of poverty as they would save an average £2,000 every year.
For pregnant smokers - there needs to be around 350 fewer women lighting up during pregnancy per year for Kent to meet its 6% prevalence target by 2022.
KCC says there has been a decline in the amount of people signing up for free smoking cessation support, which is seen as the most cost-effective solution.
The authority is planning to change its tactics by targeting people before they start smoking, focussing on routine and manual workers as around 32.4% of them smoke.
There are also plans to promote smoke-free areas such as those outside school gates, prisons and healthcare centres.
Councillors on the health reform and public health cabinet committee are due to discuss these plans on Tuesday, January 15.