Financial Incentives for Smoking Cessation..

February 12, 2009 - A study included a large group of General Electric Co. employees across the country who were offered up to $750 to give up smoking. After about a year, 14.7 percent of the group that was offered money were still smoke-free, compared to just 5 percent of those who weren't paid to kick the habit."Incentives do work in changing health behaviors, and they can be successful in people who have not succeeded using other approaches in the past," said study author Dr. Kevin Volpp, director of the Center for Health Incentives at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Wharton School in Philadelphia.

Even though just 15 percent of those offered money ended up quitting for the long term, those success rates are still far higher than what's normally seen in smoking-cessation efforts. "Only about 2 to 3 percent of smokers quit each year," said Thomas Glynn, director of cancer science and trends and international cancer control for the American Cancer Society.

PAPER: Kevin G. Volpp, M.D., Ph.D., Andrea B. Troxel, Sc.D., Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D., Henry A. Glick, Ph.D., Andrea Puig, B.A., David A. Asch, M.D., M.B.A., Robert Galvin, M.D., M.B.A., Jingsan Zhu, M.B.A., Fei Wan, M.S., Jill DeGuzman, B.S., Elizabeth Corbett, M.L.S., Janet Weiner, M.P.H., and Janet Audrain-McGovern, Ph.D., A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Financial Incentives for Smoking Cessation, New England Journal Medicine, volume 360:699-709, Number 7, Feb. 12, 2009ABSTRACT...