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Pregnant Women To Be Given £400 Vouchers To Quit Smoking

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Pregnant Women To Be Given £400 Vouchers To Quit Smoking

Pregnant women could be given shopping vouchers worth up to £400 as an incentive to quit smoking.

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as well as Public Health England, the vouchers would be "effective and cost effective".

Pregnant women offered the vouchers would need to undergo tests to ensure they had given up smoking - although experts have said even if this is logistically difficult due to the pandemic, the vouchers should be issued anyway.

Pregnant women could be given vouchers to quit smoking (Credit: Shutterstock)
Pregnant women could be given vouchers to quit smoking (Credit: Shutterstock)
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The incentive is already in place in some areas of the UK, but the move would make it accessible in all trusts.
Current research indicates that for every 1,000 women offered the incentive, 177 would quit smoking.

The guidance says: "Evidence from the UK showed that schemes in which a maximum of around £400 could be gained in vouchers staggered over time (with reductions for each relapse made) were effective and cost effective."

It also said medical staff should provide clear and up to date information on e-cigarettes for those interested in using them to quit smoking. However, It should be stressed that the long term health impacts are still uncertain.

The guidance continued to argue that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes can help people quit, but none are currently available on the NHS.

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The incentive is already in place in some areas of the UK (Credit: Shutterstock)
The incentive is already in place in some areas of the UK (Credit: Shutterstock)

Dr Paul Chrisp, director of NICE's centre for guidelines, said: "These draft guideline recommendations are a renewed effort to reduce the health burden of smoking and to encourage and support people to give up smoking.

"Smoking continues to take a huge toll on the health of the nation and accounts for approximately half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society.

"It is therefore vitally important that we reduce the level of smoking in this country.

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"We know that around 10 per cent of women are known to be smokers at the time of giving birth and, given the significant health effects of smoking on both mothers and babies, it is clear that further efforts are required to encourage this group to give up smoking.

Current research indicates that for every 1,000 women offered the incentive, 177 would quit smoking (Credit: Shutterstock)
Current research indicates that for every 1,000 women offered the incentive, 177 would quit smoking (Credit: Shutterstock)

"We need to use every tool in our arsenal to reduce smoking rates, including education, behavioural support, financial incentives, and e-cigarettes if people are interested in using them.

"Combined, we hope that people who smoke will feel enabled to give up tobacco products once and for all."

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: UK News, News, Parenting, Health

Lucy Devine
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