One thing proven to help people quit smoking.

A new study has found the most successful way to get people to give up the cigarettes and no, unfortunately it has nothing to do with gory packaging or health warnings.

Rather, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have concluded that the most effective way to get people to ditch the cancer sticks is to hit ’em where it hurts. The hip pocket, that is.

Related:The surprising reason why more women are smoking than men

The study, developed by Dr Scott Halpern, a Professor of Medicine, Epidermiology, Medical Ethics and Health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, aimed to work out what it was exactly that motivated people the most to quit the ciggies, and stay off them. (Post continues after gallery.)


Using postal invitations to find willing subjects, the study focused on employees at a large US chain store who were long-term smokers.

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Some of the participants were offered a straight up cash payment for going smoke free, while others were provided a more personal approach. In addition to the cash payment, they also risked losing $150 of their own money if they went back to smoking.

The researchers found that ‘people are much more afraid of losing five dollars than they are motivated to earn five dollars. In fact, more than half of the people who risked their own money in a quest to go smoke-free remained non-smokers for a period of six months or more.

Related:Sitting is “the new smoking”. Here’s how to protect yourself from its side-effects.

The potential loss of money already in your hand is a big motivator. Image: istock

Surprisingly, while all participants were offered nicotine replacement patches to help them manage the side effects of quitting smoking, many declined and found the financial motivation enough to keep them focused on their goals.

So, would losing money from your own bank account deter you from smoking?