The Role of Behavioral Economics in Smoking Cessation – Pharmacy Times

by | Aug 1, 2022 | Financial

Behavioral economics is a tool that can influence patient behaviors using concepts such as choice architecture, nudges, and loss aversion.Approximately 31 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.1 Cigarette smoking accounts for upwards of 480,000 deaths annually and is the leading preventable risk factor for cancers, respiratory and cardiovascular disease.1Moreover, smoking-related costs have ballooned to approximately $300 billion each year attributable to medical care and lost productivity.2 Needless to say, smoking is a burden on our health care system.While most smokers want to quit, smoking cessation can be quite challenging with less than one in ten smokers successful in quitting each year.3 Smoking cessation interventions include not only pharmacological agents, but also behavioral changes, which can be nudged by system factors.Behavioral economics is a tool that can influence patient behaviors using concepts such as choice architecture, nudges, and loss aversion, among many others. This article highlights the value of behavioral economics concepts in smoking cessation strategies.Financial incentives are a tool that can help achieve smoking abstinence. In a large randomized, controlled trial, researchers found that a group of smokers who received financial incentives not only achieved higher abstinence rates, but were also more likely to participate in a smoking cessation program compared to those who did not receive incentives.4 However, designing …

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