UW study: Small monetary incentives helped Medicaid smokers quit - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW study: Small monetary incentives helped Medicaid smokers quit

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A new study out of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin shows even small, monetary incentives can help some quit smoking.  The study targeted people on Medicaid who smoke because they have some of the highest numbers for any one group in society.  

"These individuals get sicker more often.  They're out of work because they're sick.  And often it costs the state of Wisconsin and the nation so much more because of the health outcomes that result from their smoking," said Dr. Michael Fiore, the director of UW's Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention.  

Fiore says one group of people in the study were given up to $190 to quit, while the other was given a much smaller participation payment.  Dr. Fiore says 22% of the people given the monetary incentive were successful in quitting and only 14% were successful without the money, a 60% difference in the amount of people. 

"It would translate into our own state tens of thousands of potential quitters and nationwide hundreds of thousands of people," said Fiore.  "If we could do something that helps individuals who are struggling to quit, and also saves money for Wisconsin medicaid and for the Medicaid program nationwide, I think that is a worthwhile investment of our resources because the downstream outcome is so substantial." 

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Research is looking at the study results to see if it would be worth implementing a nationwide program similar to this study.  

The study took place from 2011 to 2016.  1900 people were enrolled, Fiore said.  

If you or someone you know would like to quit smoking, you can call the tobacco quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.  

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