Jul 20, 2019 | Updated: 08:54 AM EDT

Smokers Have More Success Quitting If They Bet On Themselves

May 14, 2015 12:39 PM EDT

Cigarette Smoking
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Are you having trouble kicking the habit for good? If so, you may want to consider betting money on yourself. In a new study, researchers have found that smokers who wager money on themselves to quit smoking have better odds of finally quitting smoking.

While there are many different ways smokers can use to quit, the new study found that when a smoker wagers money and can earn that or more back for quitting, they have a higher chance of quitting the habit.

Dr. Scott Halpern, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, explains that of all the therapies including nicotine replacement, free counseling, and more don't have as great an impact on smokers compared to simply paying smokers to quit.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 18 percent of American adults are regular smokers and that statistic has not changed in almost a decade. During that same time, more and more smoking cessation methods have been developed and are readily available to smokers. However, more efficient methods are still needed to make a smoker quit for good.

Dr. Halpern revealed the latest study that involved over 2,500 participants all working in CVS Health across the United States. The participants had the option to enroll in a program to quite for a cash reward of $800 if they stopped smoking or the option to deposit $150 and earn their money back plus $650 if they were successful.

Only 14 percent of people chose to participate in the deposit program and they had a risk of losing the $150 if they were unable to quit. The study found that those who chose to participate in the deposit scheme were twice as more likely to quit smoking compared to those people who took the cash incentive option.

"We found that reward-based programs were more effective overall because many people didn't want to sign up for the programs requiring deposits," said Halpern.

The study also found that smokers who participated in the deposit program were five times more likely to successfully quit smoking compared to people who were given free smoking aids to help them kick the habit.

Researchers believe these new findings are quite significant as it may help insurers and employers design stop smoking programs that take into account human psychology as people are more likely to reduce loss than receive an incentive.

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