Mobile contingency management for smoking cessation among socioeconomically disadvantaged adults: Protocol for a randomized trial

Contemp Clin Trials. 2022 Mar;114:106701. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2022.106701. Epub 2022 Jan 31.


Background: Smoking rates remain high among socioeconomically disadvantaged adults. Offering small escalating financial incentives for abstinence (i.e., contingency management [CM]), alongside clinic-based treatment dramatically increases cessation rates in this vulnerable population. However, innovative approaches are needed for those who are less able to attend office visits. The current study will evaluate an automated mobile phone-based CM approach that will allow socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals to remotely earn financial incentives for smoking cessation.

Methods: The investigators have previously combined technologies, including 1) carbon monoxide monitors that connect with mobile phones to remotely verify abstinence, 2) facial recognition software to confirm identity during breath sample submissions, and 3) automated delivery of incentives triggered by biochemical abstinence confirmation. This automated CM approach will be evaluated in a randomized controlled trial of 532 low-income adults seeking cessation treatment. Participants will be randomly assigned to telephone counseling and nicotine replacement therapy (standard care [SC]) or SC plus mobile financial incentives (CM) for abstinence.

Results: Biochemically-verified 7-day point prevalence abstinence at 26 weeks post-quit is the primary outcome. The cost-effectiveness of the interventions will be evaluated. Potential treatment mechanisms, including self-efficacy, motivation, and treatment engagement, will be explored to optimize future interventions.

Discussion: Automated mobile CM may offer a low-cost approach to smoking cessation that can be combined with telephone counseling and pharmacological interventions. This approach represents a critical step toward the widespread dissemination of CM treatment to real-world settings, to reduce tobacco-related disease and disparities.

Trial registration: NCT04881630.

Keywords: Contingency management; Financial incentives; Mobile health; Protocol; Smoking cessation; Socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / therapy
  • Smoking Cessation* / methods
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices

Associated data