North West council ‘to pay smokers to quit cigarettes’
Studies have found that people are 50% more likely to quit smoking if they receive a financial reward
A council in the North West has launched a scheme that could see smokers receive up to £400 in cash to quit the habit for good.
The pilot scheme was proposed by Cheshire East Council after a report revealed ‘approximately 10.5% of the general population and 10.8% of pregnant residents (at the time of birth) smoke’ in the area.
According to the report, the rates are ‘similar to or worse than the national average and are no longer declining’, which prompted the council to consider new approaches to reduce smoking.
The report also states that a study on methods of giving up cigarettes found people were 50% 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.
The council also notes that smokers are ‘three times more likely to succeed by working one-to-one or in a group with a Health Coach than going it alone’.
Read More: Legal smoking age could rise to 21 under Sajid Javid’s ‘radical’ plans for smokers
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.”
He went on to explain that by providing vouchers for relatively small sums of money, smokers will experience improvements in both their health and their finances, with the average smoker saving more than £4,500 a year when kicking in the habit.
Following the discussion of the report yesterday, a formal decision report is set to be submitted on July 18th, which will set out the options for providing financial incentives.
Residents interested in taking part in the smoking scheme can contact One You Cheshire East on freephone 0808 1643 202, or can visit the One You website.
Alternatively, information about smoking and alternative ways to quit can be found over on the NHS website.
Man fed up with potholes fills them with Pot Noodles to get council’s attention
Just add boiling water!
A man who was fed up with the UK pothole problem has decided to start filling them with Pot Noodles.
Mark Morell, from Brackley, wanted to tackle the UK pothole issue so he decided to fill the dreaded ditches in the road with Pot Noodles. Also known as ‘Mr Pothole’, Morell wanted to highlight the ridiculousness of the problem in the hope that councils would notice and do something about it.
Now he’s teamed up with the Pot Noodle brand to urge the government to fix the state of the UK’s roads. In a tweet on his Twitter page, he put: “Since #NothingFillsAHoleLikePotNoodle, who better to team up with to highlight the ridiculous state of the UK’s roads than @potnoodle.
“Send us pictures of your worst, local potholes using the hashtag and tagging your local council!”
As reported in The Metro, it’s not the first time he has tried to come up with unusual ideas to catch the attention of the council to sort the issue. His previous ideas of floating rubber ducks and feeding potholes cake on their birthday were unsuccessful, forcing him to think up new measures.
He told The Metro: “Potholes drive road users potty and me more than most. The pothole crisis across the UK is an increasingly serious issue and something I have been campaigning on for more than 10 years.
“During this period I have had to use my noodle with stunts to highlight just how bad potholes are, from floating plastic ducks in water filled potholes, birthday cakes, fishing rods and model submarines.”
Experts say that ‘rapid freeze and thawing cycles’ have made situation affecting the UK’s roads much worse. And Morell is not the only one who has been coming up with wacky methods to get potholes fixed in their local area.
In Manchester ‘Wanksy’ became famous for spray painting penises around them — which proved to be pretty effective — with council workers taking swift action to remove the profanity from the street.
UK named 19th happiest country in the world as Finland comes first once again
Where are the happiest places to live?
Here are the happiest countries to live in around the world — according to The World Happiness Report.
The report identifies the happiest nations as well as those at the bottom of the scale, and everything in between. It also looks at the factors that contribute to greater happiness.
Despite the current climate, it’s not all doom and gloom and there’s cause for optimism. According to the report, benevolence has risen about 25% since its pre-pandemic levels.
In an interview with CNN, one of the authors of the World Happiness Report, John Helliwell, said: “Benevolence to others, especially the helping of strangers, which went up dramatically in 2021, stayed high in 2022.”
It has also found that global happiness has not taken a hit in the three years since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Life evaluations from 2020-2022 have been ‘remarkably resilient’ with global averages pretty much in line with the three years preceding the pandemic.
As Helliwell added: “Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness.”
The report draws on global survey data from people in more than 150 countries, and is a publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Countries are ranked on happiness based on their average life evaluations over the three preceding years — in this case 2020 to 2022.
The Happiest Nations
Released on Monday March 20th (World Happiness Day), it revealed that for a sixth year in a row, Finland is the world’s happiest country — taken from its rankings based largely on life evaluations from the Gallup World Poll.
The Nordic country and its neighbours Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway all score very well on the measures the report uses to explain its findings which include: healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support, low corruption, generosity in a community where people look after each other and freedom to make key life decisions.
So, what can other societies learn from these rankings? What are they doing that others aren’t? Helliwell, who is a professor emeritus at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia, said: “Is it, are they doing things that we wish we’d seen before and we can start doing?
“Or is it something unique about their climate and history that make them different? And fortunately, at least from my perspective, the answer is the former.” The report says: “The objective of every institution should be to contribute what it can to human wellbeing.”
Since last year, Israel has moved up to number 4 from number 9. The Netherlands (No. 5), Switzerland (No. 8), Luxembourg (No. 9) and New Zealand (No. 10) round out the top 10.
Australia (No. 12), Canada (No. 13), Ireland (No. 14), the United States (No. 15) and the United Kingdom (No. 19) all made it into the top 20.
Lithuania is a new entry breaking into the top 20 having had a steady climb over the last six years all the way from 52nd place. It replaced France which dropped down from 20th place to number 21.
The Least Happiest Nations
At the very bottom of the list lies Afghanistan at number 137. Lebanon is only one place above at number 136. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has thrown both countries into the spotlight since the war broke out last year — when the report was also released. In this year’s rankings, Russia is number 70 and Ukraine is number 92.
It says: “despite the magnitude of suffering and damage in Ukraine, life evaluations in September 2022 remained higher than in the aftermath of the 2014 annexation, supported now by a stronger sense of common purpose, benevolence, and trust in Ukrainian leadership.”
Looking forward, the pandemic has spurred a lot of reflection. “People are rethinking their life objectives,” Helliwell said. “They’re saying, ‘I’m going back, but what am I going back to? What do I want to go back to? How do I want to spend the rest of my life?’”
He’s hoping this ‘move towards thinking about values and other people more explicitly’ will affect not just factors such as which jobs or schools people choose, but also how they operate within those environments.
He added: “It isn’t really about the grades or the salary, it’s about cooperating with other people in a useful way. And of course, that’s useful for the world, but the whole point of this happiness research is that it’s also good for the people doing it.
“In other words, you do end up feeling better about yourself if you’re actually looking after other people rather than number one.”
World’s Happiest Countries 2023
- New Zealand
- United States
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
UK cities with the sexiest accents revealed and it’s bad news for Manchester
Which UK accent do you find most attractive?
A survey of 2,000 adults has revealed which UK cities took the top spots for having the sexiest accents — find out if the Mancunian accent made it onto the list.
As many will know, the UK has a variety of weird and wonderful accents. In some cases, you only have to travel a few miles down the road for people to start sounding like they speak an entirely different language altogether.
Some are considered cute, some a little too high in pitch and others are so thick they’re not easy to digest. Aside from looks and other factors, accents are also important while considering a potential match in the dating world.
But the recent survey conducted by Preply revealed which accents are considered most attractive — we bet you’ll be surprised by some of these!
Stealing the top spot was the vague accent of London. From a Cockney cab driver to an RP broadcaster on the BBC and plenty in between — who knows? This proved more so for women, with 21% of women voting for the London accent compared with just 15% of men.
The runners up were Liverpool with their more obvious and recognisable style of speaking — ya wha? As 10.4% of the population voted this melodic charmer of an accent as the next best one they like to hear.
Next up was Newcastle’s Geordie accent — the Geordie Shore has a lot to answer for! Apparently, more men than women like the sound of this bouncy Northern dialect. While just 9% of women voted for it, 12% of men seemed to find it sounds pretty hot.
The Manchester accent only came in at number five – below London and Liverpool, embarrassingly – with only 8.7% finding the Mancunian accent attractive.
Regarding regions, Yorkshire and Humber are not feeling the spark when it comes to UK accents, with 52.12% not finding them attractive at all. However, nearly half of Greater London (47.18%) think that Londoners have the most attractive accent – there’s nothing like backing yourself.
For the Northern Irish, 17.54% think that the Liverpool accent speaks the language of love, whilst 34.15% of people in the North East lust after the Newcastle accent.
Here’s the full ranking of the UK’s sexiest accents: