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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 June 2006, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Mums get rewards to quit smoking
Pregnant woman
The scheme will also provide support to smoking mothers
Health chiefs in Tayside are planning to give pregnant women incentives such as cinema tickets and grocery vouchers to encourage them to stop smoking.

Those taking part will be offered rewards of up to £50 per month, but only if they pass breath tests.

NHS Tayside is planning to spend £100,000 on the project.

Medical experts said that children whose mothers smoked were more likely to suffer respiratory illness and go on to become smokers themselves.

The rewards will be available for up to three months after a woman has given birth if she can demonstrate she remains a non-smoker.

'Premature birth'

The suggested incentives also include access to leisure centres and crèche facilities, but participants in the scheme will have to pass weekly breath tests to measure the levels of carbon monoxide in their lungs.

Andrew Radley, lead pharmacist in NHS Tayside's directorate of public health, said: "Smoking in pregnancy remains one of the few preventable risk factors associated with low birth weight and very premature birth.

"The standard approaches used up and down the country have not worked at all. It has become apparent very innovative measures are required."

In 2004, more than a quarter of women across Tayside reported they were smokers at their first formal medical check after falling pregnant.

'Scientific advice'

As well as incentives, pregnant smokers will be offered nicotine replacement therapy and other support to help them give up, including relaxation classes.

Maureen Moore, chief executive of anti-smoking group Ash Scotland, said that one in five pregnant women in Scotland smoked.

"This initiative from NHS Tayside is an innovative way to help women stop smoking and consider the damage that can be done to their unborn child," she said.

"We feel that as long as a new project follows the best scientific advice it has a chance of success and there is no reason not to try it."


SEE ALSO
Call to raise smoking legal age
26 Jun 06 |  Scotland
Pub trade 'not hit' by smoke ban
25 Jun 06 |  Scotland

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