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NHS plans could see pregnant women given £ 400 vouchers to quit smoking UK News

Pregnant women could receive vouchers worth up to £ 400 to quit smoking under new NHS guidelines.

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

Their boards, which are open for consultation, say studies have shown that “voucher incentives are acceptable to many pregnant women and health care providers” and are already being used in some areas.

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Experts said women should undergo biochemical tests to prove they quit smoking before receiving the right ones.

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

The guidelines, which come into effect when women are referred to an NHS smoking cessation service or those run by bodies such as councils, public health teams and charities, have said: to be won over vouchers over time (with reductions for each relapse performed) were effective and cost-effective.

A pregnant woman is seen holding a cigarette
A pregnant woman is seen holding a cigarette

Research suggests that for every 1,000 pregnant women offered in vouchers, 177 would quit smoking.

The new directive also says healthcare workers should provide clear and up-to-date information about e-cigarettes to those interested in using them to quit smoking, but should stress that their long-term health effects are still uncertain.

He argued that electronic cigarettes containing nicotine have been shown to help people quit smoking and to be just as effective as other smoking cessation interventions such as nicotine replacement therapy.

No nicotine e-cigarettes are currently available on the NHS.

Dr Paul Chrisp, Director of the Nice Guidelines Center, said: “This draft guideline recommendation is a renewed effort to reduce the health burden of smoking and to encourage and support people to quit smoking.

“Smoking continues to seriously damage the health of the nation and accounts for about half of the difference in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest in society. It is therefore of vital importance that we reduce the level of smoking in this country.

“We know that around 10% of women are known to be smokers at the time of childbirth and, given the significant effects of smoking on the health of mothers and babies, it is clear that more efforts are needed to encourage this group to give up. smoking.

“We need to use all the tools in our arsenal to reduce smoking rates, including education, behavioral support, financial incentives, and e-cigarettes if people are interested in using them.

“Together, we hope that people who smoke will feel empowered to give up tobacco products once and for all. “

Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, senior researcher in health-related behaviors at the University of Oxford, welcomed the advice, adding: help people quit smoking.

“The evidence supports the provision of vouchers to help pregnant women quit smoking, and it’s great to see this in the new draft guidelines.

“Studies of this type of program show that people have remained smoke-free even after vouchers or other types of rewards have expired.

“The evidence shows that these programs also work outside of pregnancy. It would be positive to see them used in various contexts. “