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Pregnant smokers more likely to quit if given shopping vouchers

Would you be more likely to quit smoking if you were offered a financial reward?

A recent study published by the British Medical Journal concluded that offering pregnant smokers up to £400 in shopping vouchers could be a successful way to get them to quit smoking. 

Such a financial reward was “potentially cost-effective” compared with an estimated annual cost to the NHS of £64m for treating smoking-related problems in mothers. 

The study compared those pregnant smokers who were offered the vouchers with a group encouraged to accept NHS advice about quitting. The results showed that 23% of the group offered vouchers stopped smoking, compared to just 9% of the group offered just advice. 

There are ethical questions over offering financial rewards for behavioural changes. However, the study says: “Financial incentives can contribute to household income in advance of the arrival of a baby in low-income households.” 

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