A Newcastle University research team have found that people may be happy to quit smoking and make other healthy choices if they were offered a small financial incentive.
This comes after the research team used 30,000 people for 16 studies targeted at making them stop smoking. The results of these studies indicated that an amount of £3 could prompt people to change their bad health habits.
A charity organisation called Action on Smoking and Health or ASH have stated that this evidence would be particularly helpful for the most disadvantaged and poorest smokers.
A recent study in Dundee revealed that in deprived areas where smokers were offered £12.50 each week to stop smoking showed a quit rate in excess of 30% compared to the national average of 14%. In Scotland, double the number of pregnant women who were offered monetary incentives to quit gave up the habit.
Dr Emma Giles, a Research Associate at the University of Newcastle has stated that the team was extremely surprised at the effect incentives had. She confirmed that those who partook in penalty or reward schemes were more likely to adopt healthy behaviour.
The researchers were unsure of the level of incentives and this makes it difficult to predict if these types of schemes would be a cost saving technique for the NHS to use. This type of incentive could save the NHS huge amounts of money by preventing cost intensive illnesses in the future.
A separate report that has been published stated that in excess of 100,000 people would stop smoking in a year if cigarette tax was to increase by 5% above the inflation rate.
Image credit: William Warby