PREGNANT women should get shopping vouchers as an incentive to help them quit smoking, a review has urged.
Around 10 per cent of women smoke at the time of giving birth – which increases pregnancy risks.
This includes stillbirth, miscarriage and sudden infant death syndrome.
An independent review into tobacco led by Dr Javed Khan OBE also found that children of parents who smoke are almost three times as likely to take up the habit.
There are 15 recommendations as part of the report, which encourages vaping, investments and aims to tackle the issue of smoking and mental health.
The twelfth recommendation, is to invest £15 million a year to support pregnant women to quit in all parts of the country.
Dr Khan recommends that the NHS should provide treatment at every stage.
He said: “There is strong evidence that women who receive incentives (in the form of shopping vouchers on condition of carbon monoxide verified abstinence) are 2.5 times more likely to quit.”
This would mean that women would have to prove they have not smoked in order to receive the coupons.
The report adds: “The government needs to create a national funding pot for evidence-based financial incentives to support all pregnant women to quit.
“There should be a stop-smoking midwife in every maternity department to provide expert support and advice at the front line.”
The report states that tackling smoking in pregnancy would save the NHS £87 million a year.
As part of the plan, each NHS trust would be designated a ‘smoking in pregnancy champion’.
Alongside this, each maternity department needs a ‘stop smoking midwife’, who can provide expert support, advice and treatment, the review recommends.
Part of the plan is that NHS services should offer safer alternatives to smoking.
While e-cigarettes contain some toxins, The Royal College of Midwives say they have far lower levels than found in tobacco smoke.
The advice states: “If a pregnant woman who has been smoking chooses to use an e-cigarette (vaping) and it helps her to quit smoking and stay smokefree, she should be supported to
The 15 recommendations outlined in Dr Khan’s report
- Invest £125 million to achieve a smokefree 2030
- Raise the age of tobacco from 18, by one year, each year
- Raise the cost
- Introduce a tobacco license for retailers
- Enhance illicit tobacco monitoring and enforcement
- Reduce the appeal of smoking
- Increase smokefree places
- Offer vaping as a substitute
- Local services to offer more support
- Invest £15 million in media stop smoking campaigns
- NHS to prioritize prevention
- Invest £15 million to help pregnant women quit
- Tackle smoking in those with mental health issues
- Invest £8million to prioritize regional stop smoking interventions
- Improve data and insight on tobacco use
This also falls into recommendation 8 of the report, which states services should offer vaping as an alternative.
Dr Khan said that the aim of the report is to help people quit smoking completely.
He explained that there is a lot of ‘misinformation’ about vaping and that it is a good tool in helping people stub out for good.
The recommendation of vapes has been welcomed by the industry, which claims that millions of lives could be saved by the swap.
Mark Oates, director of consumer advocacy group We Vape said: “Doctors must be informed that vaping is safer than smoking and all smoking cessation services should offer e-cigarettes as an alternative.
“This is because 56 per cent of smokers still think vaping is as dangerous or worse than smoking.
“Therefore, the medical professionals they see when they fall ill from smoking related diseases must be confident of the facts,” he added.
The Department of Health and Social Care said that tackling tobacco and helping people quit smoking could tackle 15 types of cancers.
Recent data shows that one in four deaths from all cancers were estimated to have been from smoking – including lung cancer, throat cancer and acute myeloid leukaemia.
The NHS has assisted in helping people stop smoking, but Dr Khan warned more action needs to be taken.
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