The impact of including incentives and competition in a workplace smoking cessation program on quit rates

Am J Health Promot. 1998 Nov-Dec;13(2):105-11. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-13.2.105.


Purpose: To determine the effectiveness of a multicomponent smoking cessation program supplemented by incentives and team competition.

Design: A quasi-experimental design was employed to compare the effectiveness of three different smoking cessation programs, each assigned to separate worksite.

Setting: The study was conducted from 1990 to 1991 at three aerospace industry worksites in California.

Subjects: All employees who were current, regular tobacco users were eligible to participate in the program offered at their site.

Intervention: The multicomponent program included a self-help package, telephone counseling, and other elements. The incentive-competition program included the multicomponent program plus cash incentives and team competition for the first 5 months of the program. The traditional program offered a standard smoking cessation program.

Measures: Self-reported questionnaires and carbon monoxide tests of tobacco use or abstinence were used over a 12-month period.

Results: The incentive-competition program had an abstinence rate of 41% at 6 months (n = 68), which was significantly better than the multicomponent program (23%, n = 81) or the traditional program (8%, n = 36). At 12 months, the quit rates for the incentive and multicomponent-programs were statistically indistinguishable (37% vs. 30%), but remained higher than the traditional program (11%). Chi-square tests, t-tests, and logistic regression were used to compare smoking abstinence across the three programs.

Conclusions: Offering a multicomponent program with telephone counseling may be just as effective for long-term smoking cessation as such a program plus incentives and competition, and more effective than a traditional program.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California
  • Competitive Behavior*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Token Economy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Workplace*