Smoking Cessation Study
Friday, May 22, 2009

While the health hazards of smoking are well-documented, many people still choose to smoke. One study recently found the most effective way to encourage a smoker to go cold turkey was cold, hard cash. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this study in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Smoking is a habit that affects not only your health, but the health of others around you. But no matter how much people are told about the dangers of smoking, it’s still a very difficult habit to kick. While education alone may not be enough, one study has found an incentive that might work—money.

The University of Pennsylvania enrolled 878 employees of a multinational company in a smoking-cessation program. One group received information about the benefits of quitting, and the other group was told they would receive money in addition to participation in educational programs.

Financial incentives were $100 for completing an educational session, $250 for quitting smoking within six months and $400 for abstinence for an additional six months.

The researchers found that employees given financial incentives to quit were much more likely to give up the habit than colleagues who only received information.

The quitting rate, as confirmed by testing, was 15 percent in the incentive group, compared to only 5 percent in the group that only received information.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.