October 14, 2010 - A scheme offering hand-outs of £50 (79.97 USD) a month to those trying to quit smoking has seen less than one in three succeed in stubbing out their habit.
NHS Tayside's Quit4U and Give It Up for Baby schemes have cost the health board more than £4.5 million (7.2 million USD) over the last five years. However, despite the huge investment, only 29 percent of those who tried to give up while being given the handouts actually kicked smoking.
Paul Ballard, deputy director of public health at NHS Tayside, defended the outlay - saying the cost to the health authority of smoking-related illnesses far outweighed the cash spent on trying to curb the habit. (Scotland - bribing people to live a healthy lifestyle..)
New figures released in a Scottish Parliament answer show £949,000 was spent on smoking cessation in Tayside over the past four years, while a further £790,000 was spent in the region in 2006-7.
When it was launched, the TaxPayers' Alliance pressure group described it as an "extremely dubious use of taxpayers' money".
Mr Ballard said said: "The cost of treating people for smoking related diseases far outweighs the figures you have for quitting in terms of investment.
"NHS Tayside has focused its investment on the areas of Tayside which have the highest populations of smokers and these areas, without exception, are areas of high deprivation. "We are trying to help those in greatest need, so we focus our energies and investment on the most deprived."
Directly related: England - program to pay pregnant women not to smoke seems hopeful..
Reference: £4.5m quit smoking drive runs out of puff, The Scotsman, 10/9/2010.
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