Background: The use of incentives to promote smoking cessation is a promising technique for increasing the effectiveness of interventions. This study evaluated the smoking cessation outcomes and factors associated with success for pregnant smokers who registered with a pilot incentivised smoking cessation scheme in a Scottish health board area (NHS Tayside).
Methods: All pregnant smokers who engaged with the scheme between March 2007 and December 2009 were included in the outcome evaluation which used routinely collected data. Data utilised included: the Scottish National Smoking Cessation Dataset; weekly and periodic carbon monoxide (CO) breath tests; status of smoking cessation quit attempts; and amount of incentive paid. Process evaluation incorporated in-depth interviews with a cross-sectional sample of service users, stratified according to level of engagement.
Results: Quit rates for those registering with Give It Up For Baby were 54% at 4 weeks, 32% at 12 weeks and 17% at 3 months post partum (all data validated by CO breath test). Among the population of women identified as smoking at first booking over a one year period, 20.1% engaged with Give It Up For Baby, with 7.8% of pregnant smokers quit at 4 weeks. Pregnant smokers from more affluent areas were more successful with their quit attempt. The process evaluation indicates financial incentives can encourage attendance at routine advisory sessions where they are seen to form part of a wider reward structure, but work less well with those on lowest incomes who demonstrate high reliance on the financial reward.
Conclusions: Uptake of Give It Up For Baby by the target population was higher than for all other health board areas offering specialist or equivalent cessation services in Scotland. Quit successes also compared favorably with other specialist interventions, adding to evidence of the benefits of incentives in this setting. The process evaluation helped to explain variations in retention and quit rates achieved by the scheme.This study describes a series of positive outcomes achieved through the use of incentives to promote smoking cessation amongst pregnant smokers.
- Health behaviour
- Health promotion
- Smoking cessation