Despite the well-known health risks associated with smoking – particularly during pregnancy – thousands of expectant mothers still choose to put theirs, and their unborn child’s health at risk.
Currently around one in eight women smoke during pregnancy, and significantly the majority of these women tend to be from deprived backgrounds.
Research shows that in areas of poverty and inequality, one in four pregnant women smoke, while in areas of low deprivation only one in 200 do.
In an attempt to find a solution to this problem, researchers from the University of Cambridge launched an experiment, which was based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire – an area of high deprivation.
The experiment involved 239 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics, who were given shopping vouchers if they could prove they had not been smoking.
Those who had not smoked received an £8 voucher, and this was increased by £1 for each subsequent...