The Way I See It

OFFERING people cash incentives to give up smoking may just be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard of. However, the charity Action on Smoking (ASH) and a team of researchers from Newcastle University seem to think that paying people to stop is the most productive method in the battle against nicotine addiction.

A study that was carried out in Scotland, where it’s said one in every five adults is a smoker, found that those who were offered £12.50 a week were far more successful in their efforts to quit cigarettes than those without the added cash incentive. A separate study, also in Scotland, found that the amount of pregnant women kicking the habit doubled when a cash bonus was used as the proverbial carrot on a stick.

ASH also claimed that financial incentives would be much more beneficial to the poorest and most disadvantaged of smokers. Perhaps it’s more beneficial than throwing money at any of the remedies designed to help you quit smoking. Electronic cigarettes, nicotine gum, nicotine spray – the quit smoking market is becoming almost as lucrative as tobacco itself. However, I’ve got a better alternative, if you’re struggling to make ends meet – prioritise. Rather than spend £8 a day on cigarettes, use your money more appropriately.

Although not a heavy smoker, I enjoy the occasional cigarette, almost always accompanied by a pint of lager. But I would never expect to earn money for giving up something I choose to do.

Most people who stop smoking do so because they have finally opened their eyes to the damage it causes to their health. A realisation that constantly coating their lungs with tar and inhaling toxic chemicals could very well result in premature death.

In fact, it’s high time I gave up on my own occasional habit, and here’s hoping willpower and self-control will be enough to ensure my success. Oh, and one other thing, shouldn’t the amount of money you would save from going cold turkey be enough of an incentive? After all, I bet most smokers would save a lot more than £12.50 a week.