Thursday, February 14, 2013

Journal Session on Financial Incentives in Smoking Cessation

The next journal session will be on Monday 25 February and will examine the recent literature on the use of financial incentives in smoking cessation.

1. The first paper is a protocol for conducting a randomised control trial in this area for pregnant women in Scotland.

2. The second paper "Patients as Mercenaries? The Ethics of Using Financial Incentives in the War on Unhealthy Behaviors" considers the ethical issues in the use of financial incentives to quit smoking.

3.The third paper is on public acceptability of using financial incentives and the factors that determine that.

Some potential discussion points include:

1. What is the rationale behind offering incentives to get people to quit smoking?

2. How might such incentives be targeted? Will they have different effects for different age groups and people with differing levels of self-control?

3. What is the difference between such incentives and the use of taxation in general?

4. What are there ethical issues involved in using cash as an incentive in this fashion?

5. What does behavioural economics potentially contribute to the design of such incentive mechanisms?

6. What principles should be kept in mind when designing an economic evaluation of the effects of such policies?

7. Are there potentially unintended negative consequences of offering incentives in this manner? What are they and how can they be tested for and/or minimised?

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