Cash is king with regards to getting employees to give up cigarette smoking, according to a fresh study.
“ The most effective way to greatly help them quit is to offer them money, ”Dr. Scott Halpern, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study told CBS News.
The study, published by The New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 6, 006 smokers at 54 U. S. companies.
Of those, the researchers classified 1, 191 as “ willing to quit, ” according to Reuters, then gave them different tools to help.
One group received literature about the benefits of quitting along with positive encouragement to quit smoking ( less than 1% of those quit for six months ). Another group was given free stop-smoking aids like gum, patches, and lozenges (2. 9% of that quit). A third group received free e-cigarettes – electronic devices that vaporize nicotine – of the flavor of their choice (4. 8% of those stopped smoking).
Two other groupings received an extra bonus: cash.
One particular group received both stop-smoking products and a cash prize: $100 following the initial month, a $200 reward at the 3-month mark, and $300 more at the 6-month mark. Ultimately 9. 5% of this quit.
The other was presented with any stop-smoking product they wanted, and the threat that $600 within an account would be recorded if they smoked. A whopping 12. 7% made it to the six-month mark.
Half of those who reached the six-month mark continued to abstain from smoking for a yr.
“People are much more motivated to avoid losing $100 than they are to gain $100, even though, economically, they are flip sides of the same coin, ” Halpern told Reuters.
The study comes at the same time when the potency of e-cigarettes in assisting most people truly smoking has been debated. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, it warns that there are still risks associated with them because they contain “cancer-causing agents. ”
“E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the FDA as a quit smoking aid, ” according to the CDC. “The U. S. Preventive Services Task Pressure, a group of health experts that makes recommendations about preventive health care, has concluded that evidence is insufficient to recommend e- smoking cigarettes for smoking cigarettes cessation in adults, including women that are pregnant. ”
In Halpern’s view, the results of the analysis show that “ we can not identify any evidence that [e-cigarettes] are much better than offering free of charge conventional smoking cigarettes cessation aids or simply providing information. ”
Critics of the analysis told CBS Information that the analysis didn’t actually display that e- smokes weren’t useful, but compared it to other methods simply.
The results also give employees a much better sense of just how much it would cost to get employees to avoid smoking.
“ The very best estimates are, it costs $3, 000 to $6, 000 more each year to employ a smoker than a non-smoker rather, ” Halpern told Reuters. “ Therefore regardless if you may not these applications cost $800 to $1000, they might be cost-saving from the standpoint of the company and the insurer highly. ”