Because having a healthy baby isn’t incentive enough, French hospitals are going to pay expectant moms up to €300 to quit smoking during their pregnancy.
French health officials say that about one in five women continue to smoke during their pregnancy. Their hope is this new initiative – to be rolled out in 17 hospitals across the country – will help expectant moms butt out.
Here’s how the program will work:
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Women must be at least 18 years old and no more than 4.5 months pregnant. They also have to smoke a minimum of five cigarettes a day. They can’t use e-cigarettes or other tobacco products. They also have to be “especially motivated,” according to a news report about the initiative in French newspaper, Le Figaro.
The program is a three-year trial. Each time a woman goes to a scheduled pregnancy checkup, she’ll meet with smoking cessation experts and midwives to make sure she isn’t lighting up. She’ll have to provide saliva or urine tests to monitor levels of nicotine in her body.
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Each time a woman tests positive for butting out, she’ll receive a voucher for at least €20. Ultimately, women who quit can earn up to €300 euros on top of saving money they would’ve spent on cigarettes.
In France, regions such as Montpellier, Lyon, Nimes, and Saint-Etienne will be involved in the study.
Le Figaro notes that France isn’t the first country to pay for smoking cessation programs. Switzerland, for example, gave out 1,500 francs (about C$1,985) to smokers while Scottish health officials gave pregnant women vouchers to curb smoking.
Turns out, 23 per cent were successful when they had a financial incentive on the line.
Maternal smoking is an issue in Canada, too. Health Canada warns that 20 to 30 per cent of expectant moms use tobacco during their pregnancy.
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“Smoking is known to have an effect on babies before they are born. Nicotine, carbon monoxide and other chemicals in tobacco smoke are passed on to the baby through the placenta,” the federal agency says on its website.
Maternal smoking has been tied to complications in pregnancy and even “serious adverse” effects on the baby, including low birth weight, risk of stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, premature births and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).