NHS Could Save Billions If They Paid Smokers To Quit Smoking
- 01 Jul
- SMOKO E-Cigarettes
It may seem a bit backward, but new research shows that if the NHS was to pay people to quit smoking, the NHS could save billions of pounds every year.
The research, conducted by the British charity The Cochrane Library, found that smokers were more likely to attempt to quit and keep at it if there was a financial prize at the end.
Although it might seem strange to pay people in order to save money, it does make a certain amount of sense.
Smoking costs the UK economy over £14 billion a year, of which over £2.5 billion a year is spent by the NHS on treating smoking related illness and social care. So offering the 7.2 million smokers in the UK even £100 to quit smoking would still save the NHS billions.
The study found that it doesn't even have to be as much as £100, as even the lowest prize in the study, £35, was effective.
In fact, the research found there wasn't really much difference between the quit rate and the amount offered. This wasn't a small study either, it looked into results from all around the world and studied over 21,000 attempts at quitting.
The study found that no matter what country, when a reward for quitting was offered, almost 50% more smokers quit who were given money versus those who weren't. Even better, these people stayed off cigarettes after they won their prize.
Dr Caitlin Notley, the lead author of the study said;
“Incentives support people in the early stages of trying to quit smoking, which are the most difficult, and once people have made that health behaviour change and the incentives are removed, they’re more likely to stay abstinent from smoking in the longer term,”
Dr Notley did warn though that this isn't the only option that should be used to get people off cigarettes, but part of a greater whole with other options such as e-cigarettes being offered as well.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this study is the fact that it only takes a small amount of money to incentivize people to quit. On some level, every smoker knows that by quitting smoking they could save a huge amount of money every year. Even using e-cigarettes to help them quit, the average pack-a-day smoker could save approximately £3,000 every year. Strangely, even though this massive cost saving is widely known, it doesn't have the same effect on quitting apparently as being offered £35!
This study ties into one of the pieces of advice we at SMOKO give out, which is to put all the money you save when you quit cigarettes in a jar so you can physically see how much money you are saving (if you have a jar that big that is).
It's one thing to know that you are saving a lot of money (on average people with SMOKO spend £2 a day compared to the £10 a normal smoker spends, which over a year is a saving of £2,688), seeing the money build up is a great reminder!
Using the jar trick is an effective way to keep yourself on the straight and narrow, as it is a tangible amount of money that you can see. Perhaps that could well be the reason why even very low amounts of prize money can help incentivize people so effectively to quit!
So get yourself a big glass jar, get a SMOKO E Cigarette Starter Kit and watch your fortune build before your eyes!