- Of those offered an individual or group award 16% quit in 6 months
- Of those who paid a deposit – which was matched if they quit – it was 10%
- And 6% of people given free information or cessation aids quit
- Experts: Offering rewards plays on people’s aversion to losing money
Bribing smokers is the most effective way of getting them to quit the habit, a study suggests.
Researchers found that four financial incentive programmes, each worth roughly £510 ($800) over six months, all helped more smokers kick the habit.
This was compared with providing free access to counselling and nicotine replacement therapy.
The researchers said they believed bribing was more successful because offering financial rewards plays on people’s natural aversion to losing money, rather than relying on their willpower.
They split more than 2,500 volunteers from across the US into five groups.
Sixteen per cent of those assigned to programmes where they earned an individual or group reward for quitting remained smoke free after six months.
For those who had to put up a £95 deposit, but could also earn more money by quitting, the figure was 10 per cent, while for those who only had counselling or nicotine replacement therapy it was six per cent.
The ability to quit smoking has long been thought of as a test of willpower.
But those who do manage it might actually be hard-wired for success, research shows.
A new study has revealed those who succeed have greater connectivity among certain brain regions compared to those who tried and failed.
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