HealthDay News — Financial incentives do seem to help people quit smoking, according to a study published July 17 in the Cochrane Library.

Caitlin Notley, Ph.D., from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group Specialised Register, clinicaltrials.gov, and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform to identify randomized controlled trials allocating individuals, workplaces, groups within workplaces, or communities to smoking cessation incentive schemes or control conditions.

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The researchers identified 33 mixed-population studies, including 21,600 participants in a mix of community settings, clinics or health centers, workplaces, and outpatient drug clinics. Analysis of 31 trials showed that the pooled risk ratio (RR) for quitting with incentives at the last follow-up (at least six months) was 1.49 compared with controls not receiving incentives. Results were similar even after the incentives ended. The total financial amount of incentives varied considerably between trials (from zero [self-deposits] to $1,185), although there were no differences in effect between trials offering low- or high-value incentives. Pooling data from nine trials that included 2,273 pregnant women, the RR at longest follow-up (up to 24 weeks postpartum) was 2.38 in favor of incentives.

“We found that six months or more after the beginning of the trials, people receiving rewards were approximately 50 percent more likely to have stopped smoking than those in the control groups,” Notley said in a statement.

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