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Rapid response to:


Financial incentives for smoking cessation in pregnancy: randomised controlled trial

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 27 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h134

Rapid Response:

It’s interesting to read an article done on changing lifestyle by incentivizing individuals to stop smoking.
Its good to know that incentivizing smokers did increase the effective quit rate by further 14%, compared to control group.

As suggested by the author, it will be good to consider doing a multi-centre study covering different regions and varied locality across UK. Also adding another arm for counseling service and NRT, to help us compare the efficacy of counseling / NRT, versus incentivizing individuals and more over adding a follow up few months after delivery, to see if they continue to off smoking

I am not sure in this present day and age, what would be the view of general public is, in spending tax payers money on helping individuals to embrace healthy lifestyles. To have one individual stop smoking, (based on the quit rate in the study) spending approximately £3000/-! Should the money be better spent on health education?

Other question is where to draw a line, how about to incentivize individuals to stop alcohol, to loose weight in obese people, smoking cessation in patients with COPD, being complaint with medications, incentivizing encouraging drug addicts to come off drugs, etc.

In the end patient has to take responsibility and ownership of their lifestyle and condition, instead of we giving them a wrong signal that they are doing us a favour to us by stopping smoking.

Competing interests: No competing interests

31 January 2015
Siddappa Gada
Holbrook & Shotley Surgeries