‘Waste of money’ smoking scheme to be rolled out

A controversial scheme giving taxpayers’ cash to pregnant women who quit smoking will be rolled out across Derbyshire.

Wednesday, 7th May 2014, 2:07 pm

We exclusively revealed in March how health chiefs handed out nearly £40,000 to expectant mums in Chesterfield to encourage them to kick the habit as part of a pilot experiment.

Officials at Derbyshire County Council (DCC) have now agreed to expand the project to other areas at a cost of £152,000-a-year – even though only a small number of women who took part in the study actually stopped smoking.

Critics have branded the scheme “a waste of money” – but DCC stress the move will save lives and money.

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The pilot scheme launched in 2012 amid concerns about the effects of smoking on unborn babies.

A total of 229 women took part in the experiment.

They had regular hospital appointments with money awarded each time they passed breath tests to prove they hadn’t been smoking.

Women who quit during pregnancy and for six months afterwards were able to claim up to £750.

Of the 229 mums-to-be who started on the project, 56 had stopped smoking by the time their babies were born.

Just 26 had still stopped six months after their babies were born.