23 June 2008

Smokers paid to quit

Smokers in deprived parts of the British city of Dundee are to be paid to kick the habit.

Smokers in deprived parts of the British city of Dundee are to be paid to kick the habit in an initiative between public health organisations, municipal authorities and the Scottish government.

The pilot scheme to be tried in Dundee, north of Edinburgh, will see smokers offered 12.50 pounds (about R200) per week to quit. Health bosses hope that 900 smokers will give up as a result in the next two years.

The money will be credited onto an electronic card, which they can redeem at their local supermarket for fresh food and other groceries, but not cigarettes and alcohol.

The money will be available for up to 12 weeks, with participants receiving nicotine replacement therapy through their local pharmacy, where they will also undergo weekly carbon monoxide tests to prove they have not succumbed.

If successful, the scheme could be rolled out across Scotland, which has high instances of coronary heart disease and cancer linked to smoking and poor diet, particularly in the "central belt" between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The Scottish government in Edinburgh, which has limited powers to set policy in a number of areas, including health, banned smoking in public places such as pubs and restaurants, in March 2006. - (Sapa-AFP)

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June 2008


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