NHS Gives Pregnant Women Shopping Vouchers To Encourage Them To Stop Smoking


The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) has announced plans to offer shopping vouchers to pregnant women to encourage them to stop smoking.

According to The Sun, the plan is still under development and few details have been announced. It’s currently unknown what type of vouchers the women will be offered. But reports say they’ll be valued at around £400 each, which is roughly $692 CAD and $550 USD.

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It’s hoped the added financial incentive will encourage mothers-to-be to stop smoking while pregnant to protect the health of their unborn baby. Statistics suggest that 1 in 10 women in the U.K. smoke while expecting.

Pregnant women wanting to take advantage of the program will be required to join the NHS Stop Smoking Service. The NHS Stop Smoking Service provides local services to help people quit their smoking habits. Its employees are focused on providing information as well as resources to make the transition accessible and affordable.

Additionally, participating pregnant women need to pass carbon monoxide breath tests in order to confirm they’ve quit smoking. If they fail the test, however, they will not be eligible for the vouchers. As of now, it’s unclear when the new incentives will officially launch.

NHS experts say previous research has demonstrated that financial incentives can greatly motivate individuals to stop smoking. They’re committed to not only lowering the rates of smoking during pregnancy but in general. The announcement of the new incentive comes six months after several councils in England banned smoking in outside bars, restaurants, and cafes.

Toddles More Susceptible To Thirdhand Smoke

via Pexels/fotografierende

The negative effects of smoking on your health are well-known, but it can be particularly damaging for both mom and baby during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that smoking while expecting drastically increases the likelihood of:

  • Preterm birth: when a baby is born too early, specifically before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Low birth weight: when a baby is born weighing 5.5 pounds or less. It’s common in premature babies.
  • Birth defects: refer to a physical abnormality at birth. Smoking increases the risk of defects around the mouth area.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): the sudden, unexplainable death of an infant, despite being seemingly healthy in most cases.

Some people assume nicotine alternatives such as vaping or e-cigarettes are safer options than traditional cigarettes, especially in pregnancy. But the CDC warns that nicotine in any concentration can be detrimental to fetal and maternal health. They strongly advise quitting smoking as early as possible in pregnancy, or even better, before conception takes place.

For more information on the ramifications of smoking in pregnancy and for help quitting, please speak to your healthcare provider.

NEXT: There Are Still “Major Gaps” In Infant Formula Marketing, Experts Warn

Sources: The Sun, NHS Stop Smoking Service, Cosmopolitan,

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