Stoke-on-Trent City Council face backlash over decision to offer pregnant women vouchers to quit smoking

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  • A scheme offering vouchers to pregnant women who quit smoking by Stoke-on-Trent City Council is facing backlash from people who say expectant mothers should be quitting for their babies’ health.

    Over 50 women have been given vouchers for shops like Argos, Debenhams, New Look and TK Maxx as an incentive to get them to quit smoking, according to the Metro.

    Women who quit smoking for the period of their pregnancy and a further 12 weeks after giving birth can receive up to £260 in vouchers, if they pass the carbon monoxide test. A partner or friend can also receive £40 in vouchers for offering their support, if the mum completes the full course.

    But while the measure is aimed at decreasing the number of child deaths that are related to smoking, in a city where 19% of pregnant women smoke compared to a national average of 12%, the measure hasn’t been accepted as the right way to solve the problem by many.

    Numerous people criticised the measure on social media, with most of them arguing that protecting their babies’ health should be incentive enough for expectant mothers and called the scheme a ‘bribe’.

    Replying to Good Morning Britain’s question on Twitter if ‘Should shopping vouchers be offered by the council as a reward for pregnant mothers to quit smoking?’, one woman replied: ‘absolutely not! Educate the dangers, should be enough. Right?’.

    Other viewers said: ‘NO!!!.. conscience alone should make you give up! If there’s money to spare give it to our crumbling NHS..this is ridiculous. ..’ and ‘NO, why do we have to bribe people to take care of the health of their children from day one’.

    Others also argued that mothers who don’t smoke and other people who need the council’s help are being overlooked, as taxpayers’ money is being spent on this scheme.

    ‘So what do the mothers get that have never smoked?’, said one, while another wrote ‘Should quit anyway and put the money into social care.’

    Do you agree with pregnant mothers being given incentives for quitting smoking? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!