Council to pay smokers £400 to quit in potential national plan

SMOKERS could be paid up to £400 each in cash to quit permanently.

A pilot scheme has been proposed after smoking rates stopped falling – with more than ten per cent of council residents, including pregnant women, still firing.

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Smokers could be paid up to £400 each in cash to quit permanently
Cheshire East proposed the pilot after smoking rates stopped falling

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Cheshire East proposed the pilot after smoking rates stopped falling

The plan is to pay people £200 to quit smoking, doubling to £400 for pregnant women.

If it works, it is hoped the program could become a model for reducing smoking elsewhere in the country.

Smokers would have to take expired carbon monoxide tests to confirm that they quit smoking and would be paid in installments.

A report from Cheshire East Council said: “There is strong evidence to show that financial incentive schemes are an effective method of helping people quit smoking.

“In Cheshire East, approximately 10.5% of the general population and 10.8% of pregnant residents (at time of delivery) smoke.

“These rates are similar to or lower than the national average and are no longer falling.

“Smoking is the single most important modifiable risk factor during pregnancy and can lead to miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth, as well as sudden infant death syndrome.”

Around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking each year, advisers said.

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The report adds that smoking causes 70% of lung cancer cases and is a leading cause of many other tumours.

A 20-day habit costs £4,515 a year.

The research indicated that for every £1 invested in such a scheme, the council would see a return of £4 from reduced need in other local services as people stop smoking and become healthier .

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The total program budget would be £116,500.

A committee will discuss the plan tomorrow to go to council in July.

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