Hospitals in many cities across France are preparing to encourage pregnant women to quit smoking by offering them financial incentives to the tune of €300 (£237, $342). The move is part of a study to test if such incentives are effective in prompting pregnant women to give up tobacco.
The French study is reportedly inspired by a similar research undertaken in Glasgow in 2015. Despite being aware of the harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy, 17.8% of expectant mothers in France continue to smoke, a 2015 report by the French ministry of health revealed, according to France 24.
The study showed that France topped the list in Europe with the highest tobacco usage among expectant mothers. The results of the report prompted public hospitals in Paris to launch the study to verify if financial incentives encouraged women to give up smoking during pregnancy.
The study, launched on 25 March, will see 17 hospitals in cities across the country undertake a 36-month trial. Those participating in the trial must be at least 18-years-old, no more than four and a half months pregnant and be in a habit of smoking a minimum of five manufactured or three rolled cigarettes per day. The participants should also have a strong desire to quit the addiction.
As part of the study, participants will attend a session with a smoking cessation specialist during their scheduled pregnancy check-ups. They will then be rewarded with a €20 voucher for each session, which they can spend at a number of stores.
In a similar study undertaken in 2015 by researchers in Glasgow, it was found that of the 612 participants, 22.5% of those offered financial incentives stopped smoking, while only 8.6% of those who exclusively met with a smoking cessation specialist quit the addiction. The results were published in the British Journal of Medicine.