We have partnered with Barnsley Hospital to launch a new pilot scheme, offering financial incentives to support pregnant women to quit smoking.
Running for the next twelve months, the scheme aims to reduce the number of women smoking at time of delivery and bring Barnsley closer to regional and national averages. Our current rates are 14.2%, above the national average of 9.6%.
The new scheme is designed to work alongside and strengthen specialist support available for women in Barnsley through the hospital's maternity stop smoking service.
Their team offers free, confidential support and advice, as well as free nicotine replacement therapy, to help pregnant women and their families who wish to quit smoking.
There is strong evidence supporting the use of financial incentives in pregnancy. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently recognised them as an effective way to help people to quit when paired with specialist support.
Pregnant women could receive up to £260 in Barnsley Gift Card’s as incentives through the pilot. Starting from the day they set a quit date, incentives will be given out for being smoke-free during regular check-ins throughout their pregnancy and the six-to-eight week post-natal check.
Julia Burrows, Barnsley Director of Public Health, said: "Through our maternity stop smoking service, we have supported women across our borough with the right support to go smoke-free for their pregnancy. Given the risks for both mother and baby by smoking in pregnancy, we're excited to be building on this support with this new scheme.
"Studies have found financial incentives to be an effective approach to encouraging people to quit and stay quit. I hope to see pregnant women across Barnsley taking part in this scheme to help give their baby a smoke-free start in life."
Walburgh Manhungira, Public Health Specialist Midwife for Barnsley Hospital, said: "Barnsley's maternity stop smoking team are well-established in offering treatment in pregnancy to help women quit smoking. Our approach is non-judgmental, supportive and inclusive of family members and partners.
"We're excited to be able to offer this brand-new financial incentive scheme for women to quit smoking in pregnancy. NICE supports the provision of these incentives, and the benefits of taking part will include having a healthier baby, healthier mum and smoke-free home."