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Success Of New York City Nicotine Patch/Gum Giveaway Program Underscores Role Of Incentives To Change Social Behavior On Smoking (& Preparedness)

May 25th, 2010 · 3 Comments

New York City’s Nicotine Patch and Gum Giveaway Program enrolled more than 40,000 smokers in 2010, nearly one and a half times more than last year’s enrollment of 28,000 smokers (and the most successful giveaway since the program’s inception in 2003), the City’s Health Department reported today.

As was discussed in the previous post, incentives can be crucial in efforts to change public behavior whether it be against smoking or for preparedness. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that New York’s distribution of free nicotine patches has turned out to be an effective lure to get smokers to quit.

According to the City’s Health Department’s press release:

Bolstered by a new Web-based application form, this year’s Nicotine Patch and Gum Giveaway Program exceeded participation goals by nearly 20%. Approximately 2,500 New Yorkers enrolled each day – the highest average daily enrollment ever. Since 2003, the agency has distributed nicotine patches and gum to more than 200,000 New York City smokers during annual giveaways, enabling an estimated 70,000 to quit permanently.

“Although most New York City smokers have already quit, smoking remains the city’s biggest health problem,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “Cigarettes kill more than 7,500 New Yorkers every year, and thousands more suffer smoking-induced strokes, heart attacks, lung diseases and cancers. Our anti-smoking media campaigns have motivated thousands of New Yorkers to quit smoking – and the Nicotine Patch and Gum program has given many the extra support needed to succeed.”

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Tags: Preparedness Incentives

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