CVS Health Research Institute Study Finds Smoking Cessation Programs with Financial Incentives Increase Rates of Quitting and Staying Smoke-free



WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 13, 2015— A new study by the CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) Research Institute and researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that employer-sponsored smoking cessation programs with financial incentives are associated with higher rates of quitting smoking and sustained abstinence. Findings of the study, conducted among a sample of CVS Health colleagues and their relatives and friends, helped shape an innovative smoking cessation program for CVS Health colleagues that will launch in June 2015.

“More than 50 years after the release of the first Surgeon General’s report on the harmful effects of tobacco, smoking still remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S. While as a society, we have made significant strides in curbing rates of smoking, there is still a clear opportunity to make an even greater impact,” said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice president and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health and a study co-author. “As we think about novel approaches to smoking cessation, these findings provide evidence that financial incentives can be a powerful motivator.”

The researchers randomly assigned approximately 2,500 CVS Health colleagues and their family and friends to one of four incentive-based smoking cessation programs or to usual care, which consisted of informational resources and free access to a behavioral-modification program and nicotine-replacement therapy. Across all of the incentive-based programs, participants were eligible for up to $800 for successfully quitting smoking but the programs differed in how incentives were accrued and disbursed. Two of the programs required participants to pay an upfront deposit of $150, which was reimbursed if participants successfully quit smoking. Overall, study participants who enrolled in any of the four incentive-based programs were nearly three times more likely to quit smoking than those who received usual care alone. In addition, although participants assigned to the groups requiring an upfront deposit were more likely to decline participation than those in the pure incentive-based programs, deposit programs led to nearly twice the rate of abstinence from smoking at six months among people who would have accepted either type of program.

“This study is one of the first to compare incentive programs that first require deposits and programs that entail pure rewards to promote healthy behaviors,” added Scott D. Halpern, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study. “The results are fully consistent with the behavioral theory that people are typically more motivated to avoid losses than to seek gains. Although the need to make monetary deposits deters some people from participating, deposit-requiring incentive programs can produce robust, long-term results in helping to change complex health behaviors.”

As part of CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health, CVS Health will launch 700 Good Reasons, an innovative smoking cessation program for its colleagues who smoke or use tobacco of any kind. Set to launch next month, the program was developed based on key learnings and insights gained from this new research in order to create an incentive program that would both encourage participation and result in sustained success in quitting smoking. Program participants are required to pay a $50 deposit and can earn up to $700 as well as a refund of their full deposit if they commit to quit and are successful. The financial incentives will be paid to participating employees who test tobacco-free at six and 12 months. In addition, those enrolled will also be encouraged to participate in CVS/minuteclinic’s Start to Stop® smoking cessation program which offers a personalized quit plan, nicotine replacement therapy and support to help stay on track.

“Last year, we made a commitment as a company to be tobacco-free as we strive to fulfill our purpose of helping people on their path to better health and that includes our colleagues,” said Lisa Bisaccia, executive vice president and Chief Human Resources Officer, CVS Health. “The research we conducted with the University of Pennsylvania provided us with important information about what can motivate and help our colleagues stop smoking. We are excited to offer this innovative program to our colleagues who want to quit smoking as we foster a healthy workplace and workforce.”

CVS Health stopped selling tobacco products in all CVS/pharmacy locations in September 2014 to support the health and well-being of its patients and customers.

The CVS Health Research Institute is focused on contributing to the body of scientific knowledge related to pharmacy and health care through research collaborations with external academic institutions, participation in federally-funded research, analysis and sharing of CVS Health data sources and coordination of pilot programs and initiatives. CVS Health Research Institute findings support a continuous quality improvement environment, which encourages product innovation and development to benefit CVS Health patients, clients and their members.

The study was also supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (CA159932) and a grant from the National Institute on Aging (AG036592).

For more detail on the data, please visit the following link:

About CVS Health

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its 7,800 retail drugstores, nearly 1,000 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 70 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at

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