COLUMN: ‘Fuming’ at government initiative to offer pregnant smokers £400 quitting incentive

Silhouette of pregnant women smoking
Silhouette of pregnant women smoking

I have to say that I have been left ‘’fuming” by the latest government initiative to offer pregnant smokers an incentive of £400 to quit.

This week there has been lots of comments in the news - and parenting forums such as MumsNet & BritMums - that have all been asking the same question.

‘Do you think vouchers should be used as an incentive to quit smoking?’

My immediate reaction is that this is sheer lunacy!

As an ex-smoker, (and when I say smoker, I don’t mean socially, I mean chain-smoker), I find it very difficult to comprehend why a pregnant mother wouldn’t want to quit, not only for their own health but for the health of their unborn baby.

In my opinion, the money/bribe is totally irrelevant.

I started smoking at the age of 15 and quit when I was 31 - as soon as I found out I was pregnant.

So for someone that had smoked for almost half my life, I thought it was going to be a very difficult decision.

But it wasn’t. I just stopped immediately and went about ridding my body of all toxins, including alcohol (as I loved to drink too).

Whilst this took a lot of determination, I would have never have forgiven myself if anything would have happened to my baby due to my addictions, I never wanted to take that risk.

So this was enough to get me through the trickier times of quitting.

However, I understand that nature of addiction and I know there will be mums out there that are finding it tough to stop.

If you are unable to stop, I can sympathise and I can understand, it’s an incredibly difficult thing to do.

But I seriously doubt whether a cash could incentivise people to stop, more so than their child’s wellbeing.

This is why I find this incentive pointless.

Either you are able to stop for the right reasons - or you aren’t.

The Government throwing money as an ‘incentive’ seems like just another waste of everyone’s times, effort – and taxes!

By Reah Marshall


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