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Impact Corporate

Tripling Long-Term Smoking Cessation Rates

burning cigarette in an ashtray on a table

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, yet millions of adults (11.5% of adults in the country) still smoke, according to the CDC.


Our researchers tested behaviorally informed financial incentives for smoking cessation among employees at General Electric (GE) and found a tripling of long-term smoking cessation rates.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, this project won the British Medical Journal Group Award for Translating Research into Practice, chosen out of more than 200 nominees, as this research led to a benefit design innovation adopted by GE for all 152,000 employees in the United States in 2010.

In the largest randomized controlled trial to date of financial incentives and smoking cessation in workplace settings, CHIBE researchers replicated the finding of our GE study with 2,538 CVS Health employees, tripling long-term smoking cessation rates. In addition, they learned that participants who agreed to put $150 of their own money at risk (matched roughly 4:1) quit smoking 52% of the time; however, only 13.9% of participants were willing to do this. This paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine with an accompanying editorial written by Cass Sunstein. As a result of our research, CVS launched a new benefit design innovation for more than 200,000 US employees called “700 Good Reasons.”

Key Takeaways

Impact Partners

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