Expectant mums paid to stop smoking in Express area

PREGNANT women

PREGNANT women in southeast Wakefield are being paid £20 a month to quit smoking under a new scheme.

The move is an attempt to stop women putting their unborn babies at risk after figures showed Wakefield was one of the worst cities in the country for the number of expectant mothers that smoke.

The programme – which is aimed at mums-to-be who have already quit and are at risk of starting again – follows a scheme launched in Rotherham last month in which pregnant women were given up to £40 to stop smoking.

The scheme, funded by the Department of Health and known as the Significant Other Support programme, encourages pregnant women to partner up with a ‘buddy’ who will support them.

Expectant mothers across the district will be rewarded with a £20 high street voucher for every four weeks they refrain from smoking.

The maximum amount a woman can receive is £200 during the course of the scheme. The buddy can claim £60.

– What do you think about the scheme? Have your say below –

Anita Roy, consultant in public health and head of primary prevention at NHS Wakefield District, said every available method needed to be used to stop women from smoking.

She said: “The scheme is aimed at pregnant women who have already stopped smoking for at least four weeks and are assessed by their stop smoking adviser as being at risk of relapse because of their personal circumstances.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: “While anything that helps to stop smoking is a good thing, I am not completely convinced about paying pregnant women to stop, but I have been advised by local health care professionals that the long-term health benefits for the unborn child and also the savings to the NHS on nursing babies and children who have been affected by smoking while in the womb outweigh the cost of the financial inducement to stop in the first place.”

Dr Andrew Furber, director of public health in Wakefield, said: “The additional medical costs associated with maternal smoking during the first year are an estimated £1,400 per mother. Every £1 spent helping a pregnant woman to stop smoking saves the NHS up to £4. ”

To find your nearest NHS stop smoking session ring 01977 465449.

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