Smoking Cessation: Commonly known as “quitting smoking,” it is the process of discontinuing addictive tobacco smoking. All major medical institutions acknowledge that smoking cessation greatly improves a person’s health prospects. It may be accomplished by diverse approaches: pharmacological strategies (e.g. nicotine replacement therapies), individual/group counseling, and alternative approaches, including hypnotherapy, behavior modification and relaxation therapies. 

Research Spotlight

The databases often return hundreds of medical studies for a single wellness approach. This section summarizes a sampling of five studies – providing just a taste of the available research. These Spotlights were not selected because they are the most favorable or the most recent, but to provide you an introduction to the more extensive research you’ll uncover searching the four databases found in the “Research” section of this site.

  • Paying people to stop smoking is very effective
    A large, 2019 meta-analysis of 33 studies (21,000 people) from Cochrane Reviews found that paying people to stop smoking is very effective. Not only were people receiving financial rewards for kicking the habit more likely to quit, they were also more likely to remain smoke-free. The amount was irrelevant: It was just as effective to pay $100 as more than $700.
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  • E-Cigarettes Help Smokers Quit
    One of the critical unanswered questions in public health has been do e-cigarettes actually help smokers quit. A large, rigorous 2019 study from the UK National Health Service says “yes.” E-cigarettes were almost twice as successful as nicotine replacement products like the patch or gum for smoking cessation.
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  • Oxford Meta-Analysis Details Success Rates of Cash- and Deposit-Based Rewards 
    Results of a University of Oxford (UK) meta-analysis of 8,500 adult smokers revealed that financial incentives to quit generally carried higher sustained success rates when 1.) subjects were required to make a cash deposit (refundable upon quitting, along with additional cash incentive); and 2.) when the cash reward was significantly higher. 
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  • Workplace Can Help Employees Stop Smoking
    A Cochrane review (2014, 57 studies) concludes the workplace is an effective setting for helping people stop smoking, and that there’s strong evidence for individual coaching and group pharmacological treatment. 
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  • Mobile Devices Can Aid Smoking Cessation
    A Cochrane review (2012, 5 studies of 9,000+ people) found that mobile phone interventions (i.e. text messages offering motivation/advice) help people quit smoking over usual care, and these benefits are sustained at least 6 months later. 
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  • Medication in Tandem with Behavioral Support Ups Cessation Success Rate
    Two Cochrane reviews (2012, 41 studies and 20,000 people) concluded that medication plus behavioral support increases the chances of a smoker quitting by 70-100% – recommending the combined approach, although few smokers use it. 
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  • Sustained Exercise Program Can Boost Abstinence Rates
    A randomized controlled trial (2014) comparing smokers that received a 12-week exercise intervention vs. 12 weeks of health education found that those in the exercise group demonstrated significantly higher abstinence rates (and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups), as well as fewer depressive symptoms during cessation. 
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