Smoking among women under 45 from more advantaged social groups in England appears to have increased over the past decade, according to a new study.

The researchers focused on women between 18 and 45 as these are ages when women are most likely to become pregnant and for whom smoking tobacco carries extra risks.

The study, funded by Cancer Research UK and published in BMC Medicine, estimated that the proportion of more advantaged women in this age group who smoked rose from 12% to 15% between 2013 and 2023.

This was in contrast to less advantaged women of the same age, who are more likely to smoke overall but whose smoking rates fell steadily during the same period, from 29% to 22%. Among adults overall, smoking declined over the 10 years, although this decline flattened during the pandemic.

The study looked at survey responses from 197,266 adults in England between 2013 and 2023.

Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson, of UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, said: “It is concerning to find an apparent increase in smoking among women under 45 from more advantaged social groups in England. We did not see this in all adults or in men of the same age.

“These findings suggest this group may benefit from targeted intervention to prevent the uptake of smoking or relapse.

“Reducing smoking is especially important among women in this age group as smoking reduces fertility and increases the chances of complications during pregnancy, miscarriage and poor infant health.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here