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Financial rewards help smokers kick the butt

Offering small financial incentives doubles smoking cessation rates among socio-economically disadvantaged smokers, especially women, says a new research.

Washington: Offering small financial incentives doubles smoking cessation rates among socio-economically disadvantaged smokers, especially women, says a new research.

"We found that women assigned to the financial incentives intervention had the highest cessation rates, which was surprising because women often have lower cessation rates than men participating in treatment," said Darla Kendzor, assistant professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center in the US.

The researchers enrolled Parkland Smoking Cessation Clinic patients in Dallas in the US from 2011 to 2013.

Participants were randomly assigned to either usual clinic care or the intervention group.

Usual care included an educational orientation session, weekly support group meetings, physician visits and pharmacological treatment.

The intervention group received usual care and small financial incentives for smoking abstinence.

Abstinence rates were significantly higher for those assigned to the intervention group during visits following the quit date, with 49 percent remaining abstinent versus 25 percent of usual care participants at four weeks after the quit date.

Twelve weeks after the quit date and eight weeks after incentives were discontinued, 33 percent of the financial incentives group were abstinent versus 14 percent in the usual care group.

The study appeared in the American Journal of Public Health.

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