Smokers in the UK could be offered £400 to quit under new plan

1 June 2022, 10:27 | Updated: 1 June 2022, 10:39

You could be offered £400 to stop smoking
You could be offered £400 to stop smoking. Picture: Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Some people who smoke could be given a large sum of money to give up the habit.

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Smokers could be paid £400 in cash to give up under a new health scheme.

A pilot scheme has been set up by Cheshire East Council in a bid to encourage residents to ditch the habit.

Cheshire is said to have one of the worst rates of smokers in the country, with around 10.5 percent of its residents smoking and 10.8 percent of pregnant women.

The cash incentive was discussed by the Adults and Health Committee earlier this week.

Smokers are being offered money to quit
Smokers are being offered money to quit. Picture: Getty Images

According to proposal plans, those taking part would have to undergo carbon monoxide tests to prove they were giving up.

If successful, they would then be paid in installments of up to £200 for the general public, and £400 for pregnant women.

Cheshire East Council is hoping to lower health inequalities across the area and help children ‘have the best start in life’.

The report says: "Reducing smoking rates in pregnant women will improve the short and long term health outcomes of infants and their families.”

According to research, those receiving an incentive such as cash payments or vouchers were around 50 per cent more likely to stop smoking.

Cheshire council is trying to stamp out smoking
Cheshire council is trying to stamp out smoking. Picture: Getty Images

Smokers are also three times more likely to give up for good if they work in a group or one to one with a health coach rather than alone.

A formal decision report is set to be given on July 18.

This comes after five councils in England banned smoking at pavement tables and on pavements outside restaurants, bars and pubs.

The counties which have already started laying out plans for smoke-free pavement drinking and dining include:

  • North Tyneside
  • Durham
  • Newcastle
  • Northumberland
  • Manchester City

Oxfordshire also reportedly laid out plans to become the first 'smoke-free' county in England by 2025.

Smoking has already been banned in five counties
Smoking has already been banned in five counties. Picture: Getty Images

Smoke-free status is recognised by the Government when five per cent or less of an area's population are smokers.

An Oxfordshire County Council spokeswoman said: "Oxfordshire has set itself an ambitious aim to be smoke-free by 2025.

"Creating healthy, smoke-free environments - including considering proposals for hospitality outdoor seating to be 100% smoke-free - is just one small part of a wider range of county-wide plans.

"At present there are no timeframes for smoke-free pavement licensing proposals and nothing has yet been agreed.

"Any decision on this would be ultimately the responsibility of our individual district councils in Oxfordshire.

"Our tobacco control strategy further outlines our smoke-free 2025 plans, which includes creating healthy and family-friendly smoke-free spaces, helping people stop smoking in the first place, and supporting those who wish to quit."