At least one in five women continue to smoke during pregnancy according to a Scottish study that links the unhealthy habit with excessive weight gain in children.
The finding has renewed calls for greater efforts to wean mothers off cigarettes once they become pregnant amid concern that rates in Scotland are among the worst in the world.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh found that of 2,278 mothers, about 419 (18%) smoked while pregnant. The real number is likely to be much higher as the reported figure represents only those who admitted to smoking during pregnancy.
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