Over a 10-month period (April 2014 to February 2015), 6% of the 4,324 people who gave birth at the Homerton (all boroughs of residence, not just Hackney and the City) identified themselves as current smokers at their booking visit,A with 79% identifying as never-smokers and 15% as ex-smokers (Figure 5).

Of the 264 women who reported to be a current smoker at their booking visit, 39 said they had stopped smoking by the time of delivery. However, 18 ex-smokers and 16 never-smokers (at booking) reported that they were smoking at time of delivery and, therefore, only five fewer women were reportedly smoking at delivery than at booking (Figure 5). It should be noted that these data are self-reported, and not confirmed by carbon monoxide monitoring (which is recommended as good practice) and, therefore, may not reflect the true smoking status of pregnant women locally.

Figure 5: Self-reported smoking status of pregnant people at booking and delivery

Figure 5: Self-reported smoking status of pregnant people at booking and delivery

Source: Homerton University Hosptial NHS Foundation Trust

Analysis of Homerton birth data for the two years 2013/14 and 2014/15 shows that Hackney and City of London residents recorded as current smokers were twice as likely to have a low birthweight baby compared to never or ex-smokers. This suggests that in that time period, 34 babies born locally had low birthweight that could be attributable to smoking. The risk of delivering a low birthweight baby did not vary significantly between ex-smokers and never-smokers, emphasising the importance of quitting smoking during pregnancy for birth outcomes.


  1. The booking visit is usually the second appointment during pregnancy, the first being to inform the doctor or midwife of a pregnancy. The booking visit should happen at 8-12 weeks with a midwife (and sometimes a doctor) and will last for up to two hours, during which time the midwife will give information about the baby’s development, advise about nutrition, exercises, screening, benefits and the pathway of care, and enquire about health and risk factors for complications.