Council to Consider Smoking Cessation Incentive Scheme Pilot

At the adults and health committee meeting Monday 30th May, councillors agreed to consider the idea of trialling a smoking cessation incentive scheme to start later this year.

In Cheshire East, approximately 10.5 per cent of the general population and 10.8 per cent of pregnant residents (at the time of birth) smoke tobacco.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in England, with about half of all lifelong smokers dying prematurely, losing on average around 10 years of life. 

Smoking also costs the economy approximately £13bn a year, including costs of £3bn to the NHS and to social care.

Research published by Cochrane analysed the results of 33 trials in eight countries, encompassing more than 21,000 participants trying to give up cigarettes. This included 10 trials looking at pregnant women trying to quit. The study found people were 50 per cent more likely to stop smoking when receiving a financial reward than those who were not.  In pregnant women specifically, quit rates for those receiving incentives were double that of those who did not.

Dr Matt Tyrer, Director of Public Health for Cheshire East Council

Dr Matt Tyrer, director of public health at Cheshire East Council, said: “There is strong evidence showing that offering financial rewards to stop smoking, combined with regular carbon monoxide testing to prove smoking status, can be very effective in reducing smoking rates and achieving successful quits.

“We’re looking to consider a similar innovative approach by providing vouchers, as part of a wider package of support, to encourage people to quit smoking for good and ultimately make our residents’ lives healthier and happier.

“Providing vouchers for relatively small sums of money to encourage people to quit smoking is highly cost-effective, because the long-term health benefits of quitting smoking are so great, along with the financial savings of more than £4,500 a year for someone who used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day.

“Quitting smoking is also one of the best things a woman and her partner can do to protect their baby’s health through pregnancy and beyond.”

The adults and health committee will consider a further report on 18 July 2022, which will set out the options for providing financial incentives to support smoking cessation.

Residents can contact One You Cheshire East about quitting smoking, on freephone 0808 1643 202, or by visiting the One You website at: 

Alternatively, NHS telephone and online support is available and can also be accessed through an NHS app. Visit the NHS website for more information at: