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Pregnant women 'rewarded' for quitting smoking

Women are to be helped further to give up smoking during pregnancy.
An NHS trust has proposed a new scheme to encourage more pregnant women to give up smoking by offering rewards such as vouchers and baby goods.

Under the plans proposed by Telford and Wrekin Primary Care Trust in Shropshire, pregnant women would be tested to see if they had managed to quit their nicotine addictions.

Examinations such as carbon monoxide monitoring, breath tests and samples of urine and saliva may all be used to help medical professionals prove that pregnant women's bodies are free from nicotine and other harmful substances found in cigarettes.

The negative effects of smoking on the health of both mother and baby have been well-documented, but at the end of 2007/08, 466 women - some 23 per cent of maternities from Telford and Wrekin - were still smoking up to the time of delivery.

Dr Kevin Lewis, director of Shropshire's Help 2 Quit service, commented: "You would think, that after all the knowledge there is out there now about the health risks from smoking - not only to yourself but also to the unborn child - that that would be enough to motivate people.

"But we are dealing with an addiction and we are dealing with human behaviour and we just know from the studies that people are often not as motivated by the benefits to future health as they are by the here and now."

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