A disturbing number of pregnant mothers in the Hunter are still choosing to smoke, above the national average.
New figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show 15.4 per cent of expectant mothers in the Hunter, New England and Central Coast are smoking, compared to 11 per cent across Australia.
However the local rate is lower than regional areas (17.4 per cent).
Infant mortality rates and low birth weights are also higher in the Hunter than the national average.
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