THE number of pregnant smokers in Bracknell has had the sharpest drop in the south east, new figures show. 

Bracknell Forest saw a 2.5 per cent drop in the number of women smoking while pregnant in just one year, the biggest reduction out of all boroughs in the south east, something the council health team puts down to a general trend towards quitting and successful stop-smoking schemes. 

Only 6.7 per cent of pregnant women in the borough are still smoking, down from 9.2 per cent in 2013/14. 

Dr Lisa McNally, leader of the council’s public health team, said the drop in pregnant smokers was welcome news but more work was needed to reassure women they wouldn’t be judged if they asked for help. 

She said: “It’s part of an overall trend. People are quitting at a faster rate in Bracknell Forest than they are in the rest of the south east. 

"For every one person quitting in the region there are two people quitting in Bracknell Forest – twice as many. 

“The second reason is our smoking cessation schemes. It’s surprising how many people aren’t aware of the effect smoking in pregnancy has on unborn babies. 

"You think it’s common knowledge but in fact, nationally, only half of women who smoke quit when they’re pregnant.

“A lot of it is done in private. I can’t remember the last time I saw a pregnant woman in public with a cigarette, so I think a lot of it is done in secret if they are finding it difficult to quit. 

"Ironically, society’s distaste for smoking when you’re pregnant is maintaining it because it stops women coming forward for support because they’re worried they’ll be judged. 

“We want to reassure women that they won’t be judged or told off if they come to us.”

Bracknell Forest also has twice as many people quitting smoking in total. 

For every one person quitting in the south east, two people are quitting in Bracknell according to Dr

McNally who said there was "something different" happening in the borough. 

She said: “I think it’s just a local culture. 

"There’s something happening in Bracknell Forest where people are taking control of their health. I can’t completely explain it but there’s something different going on.”

For more information go toor to access support visit the website for Smoke Free Life Berkshire, a scheme for people to quit smoking, at