Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Children offered vouchers to quit smoking

Children as young as ten are being offered WHSmith and Body Shop shopping vouchers on the NHS to give up smoking. The £15 rewards are available to young people under 18 who can prove that they have gone without cigarettes for a month, even though they are under the legal age for buying tobacco. Vouchers for Argos, Boots, Asda and the Co-op are also available. (link via telegraph.co.uk) I think this is scheme is very wrong! The children are being rewarded for doing something they shouldn't be doing. What about all the children who don't smoke? What sort of message does this send to them? Couldn't this actually encourage children to start smoking - in order to take advantage of the programme? What about the parents of these children? Shouldn't they be held responsible? I think the NHS should find other ways to help get children to stop smoking rather than giving them vouchers to spend money in shops. Thoughts?

2 comments:

  1. Like you I think that it's wrong!
    For a start just how do they prove that they haven't smoked for a month.
    This is yet another typical hair-brained NHS scheme.It won't work, will be short lived but have cost heavens knows how much money! xx

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  2. Apparently they can tell if they have stopped smoking by a breath test on a carbon monoxide detector, and they don't get the vouchers until they have passed that test. Still, I think it's wrong just on the principle of it. Why should they be rewarded for stopping bad behavior like smoking when they shouldn't have started in the first place?! And I wonder about when the children involved in the scheme start smoking again. I suppose they could just start and stop and keep getting "rewarded" with shopping vouchers. As you say Flighty, it's a typical hair-brained NHS scheme. I also doubt it will work but as you say, it will cost heaven knows how much money.

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