Smokersí perceptions of incentivised smoking cessation programmes: examining how payment thresholds change with income
Breen, R and Ferguson, S and Palmer, M, Smokers' perceptions of incentivised smoking cessation programmes: examining how payment thresholds change with income, Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) Europe 20th Conference, 17-18 September, Online (2020) [Conference Extract]
Studies demonstrate financial incentive programmes increase smoking cessation success. Yet there is little
guidance on the incentive amount necessary to ensure optimal enrolment and motivation levels. Whether the amount should
differ between recipients, including by income level, is also uncertain. These are key questions policy makers consider before the
implementation of incentive programmes. Here we investigate current smokersí perceptions of varying amounts to identify
whether there is evidence for optimal amount(s), and whether perceptions of amounts differ by income.
In Studies 1 (N=56) and 2 (N=147), current smokers were randomly shown multiple hypothetical programmes which
differed only in the incentive amount offered. For each programme, smokers rated its appeal, their likelihood of enrolling, and
predicted their motivated to quit if enrolled. Growth models were used to investigate the relationship between smokerís
perspectives and incentive amounts.
An increasing quadratic trend in smokersí perspectives of programmes as the incentive amount increased was identified.
Potential cut-points at £50 to £75 per week (£500 to £750 total across the programme) were observed, beyond which further
increases to the amount did not significantly alter perceptions of programmes. In Study 2, high-income smokers rated all
programmes as significantly less appealing and motivating than low-income smokers, although no significant between-group
differences were observed in the likelihood of enrolment. No significant differences were observed between low- and middleincome smokers.
Increasing the incentive amount increases smokerís perspectives of incentive programmes and their predicted
enrolment. This relationship is likely curvilinear, meaning a point beyond which further increasing the amount will not improve
enrolments or motivation to quit may exist. Incentives appear equally appealing to low- and middle-income smokers; the
population among whom smoking is most prevalent. Future research is needed to determine whether other programme or
recipient characteristics influence the amount desired, and to consider effectiveness.