Never assume that someone will not quit

THE payments may seem token – up to $41.50 over 12 weeks – but when pregnant women in a drug rehabilitation clinic in Baltimore were given small contingency incentives every time they reached a target in their smoking cessation program, they were far more likely to reduce their tobacco intake compared to women who did not receive such payments.

In the randomised, controlled trial of 102 patients, 48% of the women receiving contingency payments reduced their smoking by 75%, compared with just 2% of the treatment as usual group.

But internationally, treatment as usual often means no