484 Incentives effective for smoking cessation

August 24, 2016

written by Brian R McAvoy.

Clinical Question
How effective are incentives and contingency management programmes in achieving long-term smoking cessation (>six months)?

Bottom Line
Incentives appear to boost cessation rates while they are in place. The two trials recruited from work sites that achieved sustained success rates beyond the reward schedule, concentrated their resources into substantial cash payments for abstinence. Deposit-refund trials can suffer from relatively low rates of uptake, but those who do sign up and contribute their own money may achieve higher quit rates than reward-only participants. Incentive schemes conducted among pregnant smokers improved the cessation rates, both at the end-of-pregnancy and at post-partum assessments.

Such an incentive approach may only be feasible where independently-funded smoking cessation programmes are already available, and within a relatively affluent and educated population.

Material or financial incentives are widely used in an attempt to precipitate or reinforce behaviour change, including smoking cessation. They operate in workplaces, in clinics and hospitals, and to a lesser extent within community programmes.

Cochrane Systematic Review

Cahill K et al. Incentives for smoking cessation. Cochrane Reviews, 2015, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD004307.DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD004307.pub5. This review contains 21 studies involving more than 8,400 participants.

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.