Financial Incentives to Help Pregnant Women Quit Smoking

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Financial Incentives to Help Pregnant Women Quit Smoking

Although it is very dangerous, smoking during pregnancy is not unheard of. According to the 2011 Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring Systems, 10 percent of women admitted to smoking during pregnancy. However, only about 50 percent of the women quit. Although there are many ways that physicians or other health professionals can encourage pregnant women to stop smoking, it can sometimes be difficult.

If pregnant women were given financial incentives to quit smoking, would they be more likely to try? Researchers in the study published in Addiction tested out this theory. They studied over 600 pregnant smokers throughout their pregnancies. Half of these smokers were given vouchers for up to $732 if they quit smoking.

Out of the women given the vouchers, 22.5 percent of them did quit smoking. Those not offered the vouchers had only an 8.6 percent quit rate. However, the voucher holders had a higher relapse rate after 6 months at 54 percent. Those not offered vouchers had a relapse rate of 33 percent.

Researchers found this idea as being a financially sound investment for both the mother and the baby.