A study by scientists at RTI International finds that reward programs, known as contingency management, can increase rates of smoking cessation because participants like them.

Published in the December issue of the Patient Preference and Adherence Journal, the literature review examined how contingency management interventions, which involve offering rewards such as money or vouchers if smokers quit successfully, influence participants’ characteristics, perceptions and behavior.

“The review shows that contingency management interventions have the flexibility to adapt to individual preferences and needs, which leads to greater participation and likelihood of successful cessation,” said Jeanette Renaud, a research psychologist at RTI and the project’s lead author. “Thus, contingency management provides an important framework for addressing the need for consumer-focused smoking cessation interventions.”

The researchers found that incentives for successfully quitting smoking as motivate participants, but smokers’ vary in what rewards they want.

They suggest that identifying rewards that are most meaningful to the smoker attempting to quit would help increase the cessation rate.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 5 percent of smokers quit successfully each year, even though almost half of them try to quit.

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