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Smokers to be paid £50 a month to help them quit habit

By Lunar Loops, Jun 23, 2008 | | |
  1. Lunar Loops
    This from The Herald (Scotland):

    Smokers to be paid £50 a month to help them quit habit

    Smokers in deprived communities are to be paid £12.50 a week to encourage them to quit the habit.
    The initiative is to be tried in Dundee and if successful will be rolled out across the country.
    It follows the major success of a similar scheme "Give it up for Baby" in which pregnant women in the city were offered financial incentives to encourage them to stop smoking. That resulted in the numbers quitting rising sevenfold in the first year and this year a 15-fold increase is expected.
    The new £500,000 initiative is being funded jointly by NHS Tayside, Dundee City Council and the Scottish Government.
    The aim is to tackle the circumstances of smokers living in poorer communities which can often act as barriers to giving up. Under the scheme, which will be open to 18,000 smokers in Dundee, participants who stop smoking will be given £12.50 per week for three months, credited on to an electronic card. They can redeem the card in their local supermarket for fresh food and groceries, excluding alcohol and cigarettes.
    They will receive nicotine replacement therapy through their pharmacy where they have to undertake a weekly carbon monoxide breath test.
    It is expected 1800 smokers might sign up and around half of them would be expected to achieve success and be entitled to the £50 a month. The participants will also benefit from social support from Dundee Healthy Living Initiative including cessation help, physical activity and other lifestyle advice.
    Sandy Watson, chairman of NHS Tayside, said: "Last year the Scottish Government challenged NHS Tayside to address smoking in disadvantaged areas. This project seeks to deliver on that and if successful could be replicated nationally.
    "Smoking in Dundee is a difficult problem to tackle but we are hopeful that this innovative approach will encourage smokers to stop smoking for good and therefore make a real difference to their long-term health."
    Paul Ballard, deputy director of public health, NHS Tayside, said: "There are 36,000 smokers in Dundee, half of whom live in poverty. Although current smoking cessation services are working well, because of the complexities of poverty and health we know we need to do more to tackle this. We will always work with local communities to find ways to help them make changes to their health behaviour."
    He added: "The whole thrust of this approach is trying to level the playing field for deprived communities.
    "We are trying to give them an incentive which is meaningful."
    The move was welcomed by Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Action Smoking on Health Scotland.
    She said:"Quitting smoking is hard and any positive way to encourage and support people to give up cigarettes is to be welcomed."

Comments

  1. PingoTango
    It's a sad reflection on today's mentality that the threat of a whole menagerie of cancers, infections and other health problems, along with the promise of the slow, drawn-out and indignified death that smoking delivers won't persuade people to give up, but £12.50 a week will.

    PingoTango, 20-a-day smoker...
  2. ShawnD
    That's just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Wasn't there a study in the UK that looked at the cost smokers put on universal health care, and the conclusion was that they help UHC because they pay more taxes than the average person and they die a lot sooner? A smoker is on the government tit for a year until cancer finishes him off, and some of them don't even live long enough to collect old age pension. A non-smoker goes on pension (welfare) for 20+ years and is in and out of the hospital for many many years.

    As a non-smoker, it angers me to think that the government would willingly piss money away in order to encourage people to pay less voluntary tax and greatly increase the cost of UHC. Where is all this extra money supposed to come from? Does the income tax go up by 5%?

    Luckily I don't live in the UK, so this mentality doesn't affect me, yet.
  3. chinpokomaster
    Wasting money is one of the things that makes people want to quit. How is funding their habit going to help?

    Our government is so clueless and naive. Or maybe they're not? Maybe they just want to be seen to be doing something. Twats.
  4. Vincent99
    ......
  5. chinpokomaster
    So? They spend the credit on their shopping bills and use their own cash to buy the cigarettes. The fact that they're getting free food will mean they have more cash for fags.
  6. Lunar Loops
    As stated in the article the scheme had already been tried with pregnant mothers.

    SWILL is still unsure about this whole approach though. It's along the same lines as the scheme to pay truant children to go to school. What is to stop someone actually starting to smoke in order to then get extra money for 'giving up'?
  7. silenius
    I don't know what the fuss is about. People always need incentives to do something - no matter whether it's that they won't stink like an ashtray anymore or whether they'll have more money. The 50GBP/month ain't really worth talking about given prices in the UK - but if this extra money is enough incentive to kick a habit, why not?

    They expect only 5% of the population to take part in this. So the overall money spent on this ain't worth talking about either.

    WRT the "smokers cost less as they pay more taxes and die earlier"-argument, which I don't even want to quote: Before following this line of argumentation I'd rather see non-smokers be killed by some governmental agency as soon as they reach the age of 60 (as we don't want to pay the hospital bills for those suckers anyway) - oh wait - this was already proposed in Huxley's Brave New World - which is, at least to me, a dystopia.

    Overall I think it's a great campaign, esp. since it also includes free health-counseling and pharmaceutical aid to get off nicotine.
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