Faculty Publications

Incentives In Smoking Cessation: Status Of The Field And Implications For Research And Practice With Pregnant Smokers

Document Type


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nicotine and Tobacco Research






We review the rationale and empirical evidence for the use of incentive and contingency management strategies for smoking cessation. Plausible theoretical rationales exist for the application of these strategies to smoking cessation, and a great deal of research with illicit drug users in laboratory or controlled treatment settings suggests such strategies can be effective. Contingency management methods have been effective in modifying smoking behavior in volunteers not seeking cessation assistance in highly controlled settings. Incentives have been used primarily as a component of worksite interventions, in community-wide quit-and-win programs, in quasiexperimental and experimental trials, and more recently with low-income pregnant women. Worksite studies have rarely been designed to isolate the impact of incentives. Nevertheless, they appear to be useful in these settings especially in increasing participation and increasing awareness about the deleterious effects of smoking. Quit-and-win programs are used widely in the United States and internationally and appear to attract many participants and produce modest quit rates. The quality of the evaluations of quit-and-win programs varies considerably, and none has employed rigorous control or comparison groups to sufficiently identify the effect of incentives. Recent controlled studies have yielded promising results with pregnant smokers, and larger trials are in progress. We discuss key methodological issues in mounting and evaluating incentive interventions, particularly during pregnancy, and discuss the practical and ethical issues arising from the use of incentives. © 2004 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version