More than one in five Tasmanian women smoke while pregnant – and now they’re being paid to stop.
No drugs. No alcohol. And no smoking. It’s like the holy trinity of pregnancy, drummed into women from an early age.
But apparently the message is not getting through in one Australian state.
So, now women are being paid to not smoke. Yep, cold, hard cash. (Well, gift cards actually, which is just as good.) But I reckon that’s BS.
Tasmania clearly has a problem. A study carried out between 2009 and 2012 showed that about 22 per cent of pregnant Tasmanian women smoked, compared with a national average of 14 per cent. That figure is higher for younger mums-to-be with 35.7 per cent of under 20s and one in three women aged 20 to 24 continuing to light up while up the duff, the ABC reports.
The risks smoking poses to babies are well-documented. To name a few, they are more likely to have asthma, respiratory illnesses or stunted lung development, they are at a greater risk of SIDS and more likely to become smokers themselves later in life. Then there is the harm the smoker is doing to her own body.
Check it out here: These startling images show the real effects of smoking while pregnant.
In a bid to stamp out this horrible habit, University of Tasmania researcher Dr Mai Frandsen is paying expectant mothers to stop smoking. Every month, the women will have their carbon monoxide levels measured and – if the results are negative – voila, a $50 gift card is theirs. (She points out the voucher can only be spent on luxury items for the woman or baby, rather than groceries, to ensure the women are there by choice, not necessity, Vice reports.)
In a nutshell, pregnant women who quit smoking will be financially rewarded for not harming their baby. And I feel really weird about it.
Is having a healthy baby not incentive enough?