The stop smoking vouchers

The Herald editorial:

Predictably, there is outrage over a scheme in South Auckland that offers women smokers a voucher for up to $300 if they stop while pregnant, to avoid the harm that tobacco can do to an unborn baby. But all the talk about the mother’s personal responsibility and the like disregards a couple of salient facts.

The most important of these is the price an unborn child might pay for a mother’s failure to act in its interests. Society also gains when the benefit of preventing smoking-related birth complications far outweighs the cost of the vouchers, which can be spent only on groceries, baby products, cinema tickets or petrol.

I don’t have a problem with the scheme if the benefits outweigh the costs, which looks likely. But what I do have an issue with, is that it is restricted to Maori and Pacific mothers only, rather than all pregnant mothers who smoke.

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