Percentage of children under 2 years of age whose mother reported smoking during pregnancy, Canada, 1993 to 2008

Denominators exclude those who responded “don’t know” and those who refused to answer.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada, National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. -accessed July 21, 2017.

The proportion of mothers of young children under 2 years of age who reported smoking during pregnancy has declined by almost 50% between 1993 and 2008.

In 1993-1996, 22% of children under 2 had mothers who reported smoking during pregnancy – compared with 12% in 2005-2008.

Younger women were more likely to smoke during pregnancy than were older women.1

In 2005-2008, the proportion of women 15 to 19 years old reporting smoking during pregnancy was 39%; for 20 to 24 year olds it was 28%; for 25 to 29 year olds, 11% and for 30 to 34 year olds, 7%.1

1Statistics Canada, National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. July 21, 2017.


The negative health effects of smoking during pregnancy on the fetus are well documented – increased risk of low birth weight, still births, spontaneous abortions, decreased fetal growth, premature births, placental abruption, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is encouraging that the majority of Canadian women do not smoke during pregnancy and that smoking rates during pregnancy continue to decline. Nevertheless, it is important to continue to have supports in place for those women who may have difficulty not smoking during pregnancy.

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