Should pregnant women be given vouchers to quit smoking?

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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?

Should pregnant women be given NHS funded vouchers to quit smoking?

430 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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10th Apr 2015
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Vouchers for what, fags?
2nd Mar 2015
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Absolutely not! They should be told that if they don't give up they will get weekly visits from a health visitor / social worker to ensure they not neglecting or abusing the child. If they are subjecting the child to smoke it should be taken off them.
2nd Feb 2015
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If the natural instinct to protect your unborn baby isnt there by continuing to smoke ,I dont think that any financial incentive will.So dont become pregnant.
30th Jan 2015
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I think it is outrageous. I wonder how many of these pregnant women go back to smoking after their baby is born? Whilst the benefits during pregnancy may be increased, if those mothers simply return to smoking once the child is born the situation is almost self perpetuating as future generations will grow up thinking smoking around children is perfectly acceptable.
29th Jan 2015
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No - most pregnant women should be given contraceptive advice.
29th Jan 2015
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No way - looking after an unborn childs health should be sufficient incentive to quit. If not then perhaps they shouldn't have kids in the first place.
Jo Kingham
29th Jan 2015
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No way! A pregnant mum should give up smoking without any incentive other than the welfare of their little one. The NHS funds could be used much more effectively elsewhere
29th Jan 2015
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If a pregnant woman doesn't care enough about the welfare of her baby to give up smoking when she's pregnant, then she shouldn't be pregnant in the first place. I didn't realise the NHS had money to waste like this, and if they have, shouldn't it be put to better use?
28th Jan 2015
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Think this is another example of a world gone mad! Next we will be bribing drinkers not to drink. Everyone knows that smoking is very harmful to unborn babies
28th Jan 2015
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So the 11% that gave up smoking due to a bribe, value the health of there baby at less than £400? In my opinion, that's pretty worrying and very sad. A healthy baby and lower risk of miscarriage should be incentive enough...

Despite the fact that I find this pretty outrageous - being pragmatic, if it actually stops them from smoking and harming the baby as well as removing a negative influence in the baby's new home, £400 is pretty cheap in the long run.

It upsets me that people have to be financially rewarded to make such a fundamentally important commitment to their own child's well being - but if that's how it is, I'd rather base it on the health of the child, by any means.

I wonder how many of the 11% will return to smoking once they've had the voucher or birthed the child, though. That's an important factor that has been left out, and has to be included in any equation used to project long term savings for the NHS.
28th Jan 2015
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Looks like bribery to me but if it helps mum and baby and cuts further costs for the NHS I am all for it. The only point is some people who don't smoke will say they do and get £400 free..maybe?

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