Offering shopping vouchers worth a total of £400 to pregnant smokers makes them more likely to quit the habit, say researchers.
The trial was carried out in an area covered by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which has large pockets of deprivation. More than 20% of the women offered vouchers stopped smoking, compared with 9% given normal NHS support alone.
The women in the trial used the vouchers at High Street stores such as Iceland, Argos and Mothercare.
The researchers from Glasgow and Stirling universities say providing the vouchers is cost-effective for the NHS, because smoking in pregnancy raises the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.
The Royal College of Midwives criticised the controversial method, saying it amounted to “bribery”.
What are your views? Should the NHS incentivise and fund pregnant women to give up smoking? Should bribery be encouraged to motivate people when it comes to making health improvement choices?