Research suggests that for every 1,000 pregnant women offered vouchers, 177 would stop smoking

Pregnant women could be given shopping vouchers worth up to £400 to quit smoking under new guidance for the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and Public Health England said evidence shows that offering financial incentives to help pregnant women stop smoking is “both effective and cost effective”.

Their guidance, which is open to consultation, said studies have shown “voucher incentives were acceptable to many pregnant women and healthcare providers” and are already in use in some regions.

The experts said women should undergo biochemical tests to prove they have stopped smoking before receiving the vouchers.

However they said that if testing is too difficult due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the vouchers should be given anyway.

The guidance, which kicks in when women are referred to an NHS Stop Smoking Service or those run by bodies such as councils, public health teams and charities, said: “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.”

Read full article here.

Ian Johnson – Chronicle Live – 2021-06-24.

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