Page last updated at 23:30 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 00:30 UK

Smoking scheme 'very successful'

Audrey Gordon shopping
Audrey Gordon uses her money to buy fruit and vegetables

A scheme which sees smokers paid £12.50 a week for trying to quit the habit is showing encouraging early results, according to NHS Tayside.

Participants have the money put on an electronic card which they can use to buy groceries if they pass a weekly breath test.

They are not allowed to purchase cigarettes or alcohol with the money.

The project has been running for three months and the health board said 20 to 30 people are asking to join each week.

NHS Tayside also has more than 360 people taking part at the moment.

Audrey Gordon, who is one of those on the 12-week scheme, said: "Times are hard just now and messages are expensive so every little helps.

Dr Paul Ballard from NHS Tayside said the results were encouraging.

"This is the first time that I've seriously tried to stop smoking, and I'm not saying I did it the first time because I've had a little bit of a relapse, but the past few weeks I've been fantastic at it."

Philip Neave is another participant who has not managed to give up but has cut down from about 25 cigarettes a day to about 10 a week.

He said "It's a big incentive for me because I'm not working at the moment so there's not much money going about, so that £12.50 is a big incentive.

"It was hard at first [taking the test every week] but we've been going that long now it's part and parcel of Tuesday mornings, we find it quite easy now."

Dr Paul Ballard, from NHS Tayside, said: "We worked with local people to find out what would motivate them to quit smoking and using the message, 'You'll be healthier for longer' clearly wasn't going to work, what was important to them was putting food on the table.

"The figures that are coming through are showing that it's very successful."

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