Richmond’s expectant mothers are England’s least likely to continue smoking throughout pregnancy, according to a new study.

The survey found that 45 of Richmond’s 2,361 women (1.9 per cent) giving birth in 2013/14 smoked throughout pregnancy, risking complications such as stillbirth and miscarriage.

The figures are well below the London average of 5.1 per cent.

Councillor Lisa Blakemore, cabinet member for housing and public health, said: "These figures are really excellent and reflect positively on the effective programmes in place.

"We are proud of our achievements in public health."

Mike Derry, chief officer at Healthwatch Richmond, said that while the borough’s results were excellent, it was important to continue to build on them.

He said: "Ideally no one would smoke during pregnancy.

"It is important that resources to help people stop smoking are available to those that need them so that we can build on these excellent results and give even more of our borough's youngest residents the best possible start in life."

Government body the Health and Social Information Centre found the national average for 2013/14 was 12 per cent, but in many parts of the north of England, including Blackpool, up to a quarter of pregnant women refused or failed to stop smoking.