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Plain tobacco packs revolt, vouchers boost pregnant smoker quit rates and BBC launches 'care calculator'

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

Up to 100 Tory MPs have set themselves against David Cameron and are intending to vote against the Prime Minister’s plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging, the Telegraph reports.

The Bill, which is still likely to become law due to Liberal Democrat and Labour support, has divided the Cabinet, with some arguing that plain packaging will cause a spike in counterfeit cigarettes, it could also require an £11bn pay out to tobacco companies for denying the use of their intellectual property.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said: ‘We have seen smoking rates decline, but smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable mortality.’

Meanwhile a scheme offering £400 worth of shopping vouchers to pregnant smokers led to more than twice as many of them managing to quit, according to research reported by the Independent.

Authors of the study, from the University of Glasgow and University of Stirling, said it showed ‘substantial evidence of a very promising and potentially cost-effective new intervention’, but the Royal College of Midwives said the scheme was ‘not ideal’.

Lastly, the BBC has launched a new ‘care calculator’ aimed at the over-65s, which allows people to put in their postcode and work out how much social care services such as help with washing and dressing will cost them.

The calculator covers both residential and home care.

Norman Lamb, England’s care minister, said: ‘This calculator is a fantastic resource.

‘It gives you lots of great information and is what public sector broadcasting is all about. I’m really impressed.’

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