A controversial area of public policy has been highlighted recently with a new initiative offering £200 of shopping vouchers to mothers who breastfeed their children. The public has called this type of initiative into question, asking why some should be paid to breastfeed when many others are already doing it without being paid.
It is not just breastfeeding that has been approached in this way either. A stop-smoking scheme in Dundee proved successful when quitters were offered £12.50 a week to quit smoking. By the end of the three-month scheme, almost a third of participants had kicked the habit – double the amount recorded in previous schemes.
Many people have asked why money is being used as an incentive when the potential health benefits of such schemes should be incentive enough. Advocates of the approach argue that in some cases health benefits are not enough. They point out that sometimes behaviour becomes so ingrained that people need something to help jolt them out of bad habits.
The question critics are asking is how can such initiatives be policed? The stop smoking scheme was a relatively easy one to monitor, with participants taking regular breadth tests to monitor CO2 levels. Would other initiatives, such as the latest breastfeeding scheme, be so easy to monitor?
Another worry is that people may abuse the scheme. The shopping vouchers offered to breastfeeding mothers can be used on anything, and therefore may be used on alcohol and cigarettes.
It appears that while the Government should be praised for their enthusiasm to help people break bad habits, perhaps these initiatives need further thought and consideration.
Breaking bad habits starts in the mind and for some people, hypnotherapy can offer help and support to break these habits and form new ones. To find out what issues hypnotherapy can help with, please browse our hypnotherapy areas.
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