Tobacco cessation contests

In tobacco cessation contests, participants are encouraged to quit using tobacco on a particular date or during a specific time period; successful participants are eligible for raffles, lotteries, or prize drawings, which may include financial payments or other rewards. Often called Quit & Win contests, tobacco cessation contests may be part of larger cessation interventions with counseling or pharmacological treatments (e.g., nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)) (Thomas 2016*). Competitions can occur at worksites or within the broader community (CG-Tobacco use).

* The term “tobacco” in this strategy refers to commercial tobacco, not ceremonial or traditional tobacco. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps recognizes the important role that ceremonial and traditional tobacco play for many Tribal Nations, and our tobacco-related work focuses on eliminating the harms and inequities associated with commercial tobacco.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Reduced tobacco consumption

  • Increased quit rates

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Increased quit rates

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is insufficient evidence to determine whether tobacco cessation contests reduce smoking when implemented alone (CG-Tobacco use). Available evidence suggests that contests may help some smokers quit, but are not likely to affect community smoking rates (Cochrane-Cahill 2008a*). Contests may be part of broader cessation programs with counseling or pharmacological treatments (Cochrane-Cahill 2014*) which can decrease tobacco use in the short-term (Cochrane-Cahill 2015*, Cochrane-Cahill 2014*, Ledgerwood 2014); very substantial cash rewards for confirmed tobacco free participants may also decrease tobacco use in the short-term (Cochrane-Cahill 2015*). An assessment of multi-component Quit & Win contests at 19 universities suggests that participation in multiple contests may increase the likelihood of quitting (Thomas 2016*). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely
Citations - Evidence

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

CG-Tobacco use - The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). Tobacco.

Cochrane-Cahill 2008a* - Cahill K, Perera R. Quit and Win contests for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2008;(4):CD004986.

Cochrane-Cahill 2014* - Cahill K, Lancaster T. Workplace interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2014;(2):CD003440.

Cochrane-Cahill 2015* - Cahill K, Perera R. Incentives for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015;(5):CD004307.

Ledgerwood 2014 - Ledgerwood DM, Arfken CL, Petry NM, Alessi SM. Prize contingency management for smoking cessation: A randomized trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2014;140:208-212.

Thomas 2016* - Thomas JL, Luo X, Bengtson J, et al. Enhancing Quit & Win contests to improve cessation among college smokers: A randomized clinical trial. Addiction. 2016;111(2):331-339.

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