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Financial incentives for pregnant women to stop smoking ‘highly cost effective’

Shopping vouchers given to pregnant women to incentivise them to stop smoking are ‘highly cost effective’ a University of Glasgow study has found.

The scheme’s cost effectiveness ratio was found to be £482 per quality adjusted life year (QALY), well inside NICE guidance of £20,000 per QALY, according to a study published in scientific journal Addiction.

The report was based on a trial of 600 pregnant smokers, half of whom received up to £400 in vouchers for quitting during pregnancy.

Those offered financial incentives quit smoking at a much higher rate than those not offered incentives (22.5% compared with 8.6%).

Self-reported relapse rates six months after giving birth were also much lower among those women who had received the vouchers, at 33% compared with 54%.

An analysis of the cost effectiveness of the scheme found that the incentives were a sound financial investment.

Authors of the study, from the University of Glasgow and University of Stirling, said in January that 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’.


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