Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Scottish Government pays incentives to allow expectant mothers to shop at Asda

Free NRT thrown in, although it will probably be claimed that this is optional. The compulsory part is giving up smoking. Public health  minister Michael Matheson claims that this scheme has been 'a success' (a 50 per cent success rate at one month). Launched in Tayside, he now wants it rolled out across Scotland (the news article claims £50 a month is paid out, but other sources give £12.50 a week).

The Taxpayers Alliance's investigations showed over £60,000 had been spent with only a quarter of those attempting to quit succeeding even in the short term. There were allegations that some non-smoking families resented the financial help given to parents who succeeded in quitting under the scheme. According to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the long-term prospects for people quitting under this scheme are not necessarily good:
However, a search by the Cochrane Collaboration of all the available evidence looking at whether competitions and incentives help smokers to quit in the medium to long term showed that such incentives do not enhance long term smoking cessation rates, with early success tending to dissipate when the rewards are no longer offered.
Earlier this year a Tobacco Control Study was reported in several papers including the Scotsman showing that nicotine patches, even in conjunction with counselling, do not give quitters an advantage over people stopping without pharmaceutical support.

This has to be a pharmaceutical company's dream: patients getting a financial incentive to participate in a programme that gives them free medication.

It seems that no cost is too great where smoking cessation medications are concerned. Look at the delegate list for this year's UK National Smoking Cessation Conference. So far 261 people have registered for at least one day, at £250 (£375 for two days) with recommended accommodation at £99 per night. At a guess I would hazard that most of it is reclaimable on expenses, plus food. So the cost to the public purse so far (for 261 delegates) has run from anything between just over £62K (for one day with no accommodation), to nearly (£150K for two days with two nights' accommodation. Some people might even need three nights!) And they still have a few weeks to sign up more delegates.

All in a concerted campaign to dissuade people from using a legal product.

1 comment:

Jonathan Bagley said...

A 50% success rate at one month is impossible. My guess is they stop smoking the evening before the breath test and manage not to have a cigarette until after the test the next day. The carbon monoxide level will then be back to normal. Nice little earner.