Tobacco cessation contests

Evidence Rating  
Insufficient Evidence
Evidence rating: Insufficient Evidence

Strategies with this rating have limited research documenting effects. These strategies need further research, often with stronger designs, to confirm effects.

Health Factors  

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))1. Competitions can occur at worksites or within the broader community2.

Note: 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 alone2. Available evidence suggests that contests may help some smokers quit, but are not likely to affect community smoking rates3. Contests may be part of broader cessation programs with counseling or pharmacological treatments4 which can decrease tobacco use in the short-term4, 5, 6; very substantial cash rewards for confirmed tobacco free participants may also decrease tobacco use in the short-term5. An assessment of multi-component Quit & Win contests at 19 universities suggests that participation in multiple contests may increase the likelihood of quitting1. However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

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1 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.

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

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

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

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

6 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.

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