ALMOST 90% of pregnant women referred to Glasgow's smoking cessation services went on to light up again within four weeks.

Figures show the message is still not getting through to women about the dangers of prenatal smoking. A total of 1270 women were referred to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Smokefree Pregnancy Service from From April 1 to September 30 this year

Of that number only 380 set a quit date with 154 still off cigarettes at four weeks - just 12% of the total referred.

However, the health board said this year's figures meant 154 babies had not been exposed to the risks of smoking and that numbers had increased slightly on last year.

From April 2011 to March 31 2012, 2521 women were referred and 835 set a quit date with 297 still smoke-free at four weeks.

The board said more than 97% of all pregnant women in the health board area have been tested for CO levels this year.

It is working to improve training for midwives to help them explain the risks of smoking to expectant mums.

Smoking in pregnancy increases the chance that the baby will be born malformed.

The risk for having a baby with missing or deformed limbs or a cleft lip is more than 25% higher for smokers, data shows.

The addictive habit is also associated with higher risks of miscarriage and low birth weight.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health for NHSGGC, said: "The impact of giving up smoking during pregnancy cannot be underestimated.

"As with all smoking services there is a drop off rate between being offered support and actually making a quit attempt.

"However, we are pleased that our quit rate between April and September this year has risen slightly to 41% compared with 36% for the same period last year, which is substantially higher than the national average at 33%."

Figures show some progress is being made at a national level.

Scotland has experienced the biggest drop in the number of pregnant women smoking across the UK over the past few years.

Smoking levels have fallen from 35% to 27% from 2005-2010.

Almost 30% of maternal smokers live in the most deprived areas compared to 4.8% in the least deprived.

All pregnant women who smoke are automatically refer-red to the health board's smoking cessation service.

There are 33 smoking cessation sessions across the board area for expectant mums within 23 different hospitals and community venues.

The board is also working to raise awareness amongst all staff in contact with pregnant women, of the danger caused by alcohol in pregnancy.

It said the majority of women screened at antenatal clinics deny any alcohol use.