Smokers in deprived communities in a Scottish city will now be paid 12.50 pounds a week to kick the butt.
Scottish Government in collaboration with NHS Tayside, Dundee City Council is set to launch 500,000 pounds pilot scheme where people would be given 12.50 pounds a week credited onto an electronic card, which they can redeem in their local supermarket for fresh food and groceries, but not alcohol and cigarettes.
AdvertisementPeople participating in a 12-week programme will be give nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) through their local pharmacy and will have to do a weekly carbon monoxide breath test to prove they are still smoke-free.
Through Dundee Healthy Living Initiative (DHLI), the participants would be able to access smoking cessation support, physical activities and other lifestyle advice and support.
The initiative comes after success of the Give it up for Baby initiative in Tayside, where pregnant smokers were encouraged to give up cigarettes.
"Currently there are 36,000 smokers in Dundee, half of whom live in poverty," the Daily Express quoted Paul Ballard, Deputy Director of Public Health at NHS Tayside, as saying.
"Although current smoking cessation services are working well, because of the complexities of poverty and health we know we need to do more to tackle this," he added.
If successful, the scheme is expected to be rolled out across the rest of Scotland.
But Neil Rafferty, a spokesman for the pro-smoking lobby group Forest, condemned the scheme as a "waste of public money.
There is nothing wrong with the Government encouraging people to quit smoking. What we object to is first of all when people are forced to stop or being bribed in this way, Scotsman quoted him as saying.
"I would imagine that a lot of non-smokers are going to be pretty annoyed to find that their tax money is being used to help smokers quit.
"Smoking is a choice that adults should be allowed to make. And the decision to quit should be a choice that they should be allowed to make as well," he added.
The new scheme will be launched in the autumn.