Smoking in pregnancy

Impact and effectiveness

The total annual cost to the NHS of smoking during pregnancy is estimated to be as high as £64 million for treating the resulting problems for mothers and as high as £23.5 million for treating infants (aged 0-12 months) (1)

Estimates have also placed the costs of a complicated delivery by a woman who smokes at 66% higher than that of a woman who does not smoke (2)

Cost estimates are limited to NHS costs during pregnancy and the first year of life, but smoking in pregnancy has long-term effects on health and may therefore have wider costs to education, social work and judicial systems. The real costs to society could be much higher.

Stopping smoking during pregnancy is a cost effective health tool as it improves health and well being of current and future adults and contributes to a reduction in health inequalities.

In terms of hospital inpatient cost for children born to a smoking mother over the first 5 years of life, the cost difference was estimated at £462 when infants born to women who smoked at least 20 cigarettes per day were compared to infants of non-smoking mothers. The cost difference was £ 307 when infants born to women who smoked 10-19 cigarettes per day were compared to infants of non-smoking mothers (3)

The service is cost effective as the current cost (2012-2013) for treating a smoker is £144 which is below the national average of £249 for the same period (NHS Information Centre).

The Smokefree Baby and me programme costs £100.00 per women going through the full programme.  This equates to £5.00 less than the national average to treat a generic smoker.


(1) Godfrey C, Pickett K, Parrot S et al. (2010) Estimating the costs of smoking in pregnancy for pregnant women and infants. York: Department of health sciences, The University of York

(3) Petrou S. (2005) The association between smoking during pregnancy and hospital inpatient costs in childhood. Social Science and Med, 60;5:1071-1085



Last updated Thursday, 30th June 2016