State Offers Gift Cards As Incentive For Smokers To Quit

Participants Must Be Low-Income And Own A Phone

Curran Kelleher (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Wisconsin is offering $80 gift cards to get low-income smokers to quit.

To be eligible in what’s known as the Striving to Quit program, smokers have to be on BadgerCare or supplemental security income. They also must have a phone, so that a coach from Wisconsin’s Tobacco Quit Line can communicate with participants in five sessions over a six-month period.

Amy Skora is an outreach specialist with the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. She said the average smoker tries to quit seven times. The financial incentive program can be used more than once.

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“Somebody is able to join the program up to two times in their lifetime, which is really nice. They’re getting continuing support if they didn’t make it the first time. They have the option to try it a second time,” said Skora.

Studies vary on the effectiveness of such a financial incentive, but one University of Texas study found it doubled quit rates.