Should we be paying pregnant women to stop smoking?

I say “we” as I assume it will be tax payers money that pay for this scheme. I simply cannot believe what I have heard in the news today: financial incentives could help pregnant women to stop smoking! Could being the operative word of that sentence, but what a crock of crap the entire sentence is, the entire idea is! Sorry, but I am on a rant and I don’t usually do this publicly on my blog. But this idea has just shocked me into it.


First off, why are these mothers not just wanting to quit? Why are they wanting to harm their unborn children? I do not smoke and have never, I hate it, but if I was pregnant and smoking I would stop right away. One of my close friends, who smoked heavily and drank quite a bit too before finding out she was pregnant, stopped as soon as she did find out. If she could do it, then I am sure anyone could. I just do not understand why women would accept money to help look after the health of their unborn babies, isn’t that just instinct? A maternal feeling that just takes over when you become a mum? Or is it greed and laziness? If these women stopped smoking, they would probably save more than the proposed £400 vouchers as a result of not buying cigarettes. Or even an e-cigarette is cheaper, isn’t it?


Smoking while pregnant can do severe harm to both mother and child. It is thought to be a cause of around 5,000 miscarriages a year, as well as more than 100 still births and more than 100 infant deaths. *quote from The Independent.


Why is that shocking sentence above not enough to provoke mothers-to-be into putting the cigarettes down? I do think this has a lot to do with mentalities; there are people out there who just don’t care and therefore have no willpower to do anything, the financial incentive may sound appealing but is it really going to make people like that stop smoking entirely? What happens towards the end of the pregnancy when things get tough and the worry over labour kicks in? What happens as the child is growing up and living in a pit of smoke as the parents sit and smoke cigarette after cigarette? OK what a dismal image that is, but you know where I am coming from? It might stop them smoking for a short term basis but I don’t feel it has legs to prevent harm coming to the unborn babies or the babies as they grow for that matter.


It makes me think of all the poor families in this country that live on benefits and do not work. Some of those people probably do not want to work, they do not care. They get to sit at home and watch their children grow up and we support them through it, we as tax payers. It’s that mentality that we are dealing with here, those people that just don’t care. I am sure its a small proportion of people who think this way, but why should we throw money at them – especially to do something which is natural: protect their unborn babies from harm. I work full time and have two small children at home so that I can, hopefully, buy a house and look after my family. I don’t get to see my children growing up everyday like those parents that don’t work and choose not to work. What help do I get? (Apart from the help to buy scheme, not much!). Why not?


Is this our future? Paying people to do things, giving them incentives to do the most natural of things? Whatever next? Paying teenagers to go to school? It won’t stop with pregnant women smoking. I really don’t mean to sound horrible, as I am sure it is not easy to walk away from a horrible and disgusting habit, but there is help out there that you can get with a free GP. Spend your  money on nicotine patches not cigarettes. Get some support and get some advice, use the family and friends around you – that’s what I have to do when I am in need.


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  • Andrea
    January 28, 2015

    This subject has had me stewing all day. I find even the thought of it disgusting. The health of your unborn child should be more than enough incentive, and quite frankly, if it isn’t, but £400 is, then you should be questioning WHY you are even considering having a child. Being a parent is all about putting someone else first and this starts from the second you know you are pregnant. I HATE seeing pregnant women smoking outside the hospital – I have to take deep breathes because it makes me so angry.

    And the saddest thing about it is? In trials this has worked. More women who were offered a cash incentive gave up smoking, than those that weren’t offered it. Says so much about some parents in our society – thats the sort of society I want nothing to do with. Our children’s health is our responsibility – its not something to be paid for doing.

    • MummyConstant
      January 28, 2015

      Thanks for the comment Andrea. I do agree – you shouldnt need money to do it. Its part of having children. I hate seeing pregnant women smoking too, but try not to get on my high horse when I do see them.

      I cant believe it about the trials. Disgusting.

      I think you are right, it does say alot about our society – I bet we will be paying our children incentives to get to school in the future!!

  • Hannah
    January 28, 2015

    I just can’t fathom this kind of thinking, having to be paid to not poison your unborn child. I also don’t get the mentality behind remaining a smoker into pregnancy, I know people say it’s an addiction and don’t judge, but me judging them should be the last thing of concern to them – if they are lucky enough to have a child that survives a) the pregnancy, b) any after effects following the birth, will they honestly be able to look their child in their eyes when they, in years to come, find out that their mother wasn’t strong enough to kick the habit whilst carrying them? Speaking of after-effects, the article doesn’t even touch on how even coming into contact with anyone that has smoked, let alone the mother, can greatly increase the risk of SIDS. Jesus, people, the stats just stack up and up, the combination of smoking and having a baby just does not mix. Want to smoke yourself silly? Great, you sod off and do that but don’t bother having a baby. Mums are supposed to nurture and do everything they can to put this child first and sacrifice whatever it takes for their benefit. What’s also frustrating is how desperate the situation must be for the NHS to consider paying people off, in the hope they won’t drain any more of its valuable resources. I’m a great believer in the NHS and it makes me feel like these people are reducing the very institution to a laughing stock. Our road to getting our beautiful baby boy was not always easy. In fact, we probably had more heartache than most. All my doctor (although lovely) could do, was advise of the waiting lists and lack of resources and forced me down an alternative to Western medicine route, via acupuncture. We spent into the thousands on this and I would recommend it to anyone for various needs. Actually, those addicted to smoking would do well with a bit of acupuncture! If it’s an addiction, then treat it medically – offering cash suggests it is merely psychological and nothing a bit of willpower wouldn’t sort. I’m sure they would get the acupuncture paid for even, unlike me, who with the best will in the world, had to dig deep for money that I could have been saving for the essentials of having a baby! All the pain, all the worry, all the hoping and wishing and we were lucky to eventually get our amazing baby. I can’t even bear to think of doing anything to harm him, not now or ever.

    It just doesn’t sit well, having to be given a cash reward for giving a crap about your own baby. Anyone who has had a baby will know how magical the whole thing is, a thing of such innocence deserves the very best start in life, all the best chances. So stop rubbing your hands together at the idea of getting a nice little pay packet at the taxpayers’ expense, stub that disgusting, child-killing fag out and start acting like a mum. Trust me, you won’t regret it, motherhood is amazing x

  • Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy
    January 29, 2015

    Totally agree with you, it’s crazy to continue smoking in pregnancy. Maybe in the days when we didn’t know how harmful it was but those days are long gone. We shouldn’t be incentivising it, we should be supporting women to stop when through other means. This mindset is completely crazy to me

  • Alfresco Aussie
    January 31, 2015

    I agree this is a ludicrous idea and a desperate attempt by the government to win votes from certain members of society that think this is a good idea. Have they considered how they will police those that have “kicked the habit”, receiving the £400, yet still having the cheeky ciggie outside the pub or hiding round the corner at the supermarket? Come on! Why not invest that money back into the desperately needed NHS hospitals? Increase nurses pay? Or schools? That’s what’s wrong with society these days…the Governments priorities are all wrong!

  • tally sale
    February 2, 2015

    Do we slam mothers for refusing to move out of polluted areas? No! Do we sneer at those lucky enough to enjoy a big of sun whilst pregnant? No! What about the mothers we see who pile on the pounds through pregnancy, increasing theirs and their baby’s chance of diabetes and other health problems? Why, they are applauded for not bowing down to media pressure to maintaina slim frame during and after pregnancy.

    So why make a woman who is already going through a torrid time feel worse about themselves than they already do.

    Londoners breathe in the same amount of tar everyday as they would do from smoking 4 cigarettes, a woman who lives in the countryside and smokes one cigarette a day is technically being kinder to her baby than the woman who won’t move out of the city.

    Let’s stop bashing those around us for not being as ‘perfect’as us, and instead support each other through one of the most difficult periods a woman has to go through.

Tuesday 27 January 2015
Should we be paying pregnant women to stop smoking?

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