A recent study using behavior modification techniques was conducted to reduce smoking. Using internet money vouchers as rewards for demonstrating reduced carbon monoxide ratings using a carbon monoxide breath measuring device.
The people in the study were between the ages 18 and 60. These people smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day. The study participants also averaged at least a score of 10 parts per million on a carbon monoxide tester. The participants must have smoked for at least two years, owned a computer and had internet access. One of the most important factors was that the participants expressed a desire to quit smoking. Things that excluded people from the study was alcohol dependence, drug use, or live with another smoker who smokes inside the home. People were interviewed over the phone to determine eligibility for the study.
The main tools of this study were telephones, computers, web cameras, and carbon monoxide testers. The overall goal for the study was to have participants establish carbon monoxide readings below 4 ppm. This was achieved by decreasing and eliminating the behavior of smoking cigarettes.
The participants submitted videos of their selves using a carbon monoxide tester twice a day to earn vouchers to buy things on the internet. Vouchers were delivered right after videos were submitted. The first three days of the study the participants provided carbon monoxide videos to establish a current level of carbon monoxide. During the next four days participants were rewarded for a 4ppm carbon monoxide reduction from the first three days, or the previous measurement. Participants were rewarded $3 vouchers for each successful carbon monoxide ppm reduction. The next phase of the procedure lasted for 21 days. During the next phase of the study the voucher reward amount was increased to $3.25 and for every consecutive third decrease in carbon monoxide ppm earned a $5 bonus. So a payout could look like this $3, $3.25, $8.50, $3.75. After the 21 day abstinence phase a 21 day phase followed in which the rewards were given less often, about twice per week. Verbal support was provided throughout the process.
The study participants had slightly reduced carbon monoxide ppm during the four days following the initial three day measurements. The two 21 day phases demonstrated the most significant reduction in carbon monoxide ppm. Out of the $530 available for vouchers the participants earned on average about $223.50.The study suggests that an internet based treatment plan for quitting or reducing smoking in terms of reduction of carbon monoxide ppm readings is an effective method. The study participants were pleased with the procedure. The study demonstrated a two month process in which people either quit smoking or signigicantly reduced the amount of cigarettes smoked.
Dallery, J., Raiff, B., & Grabiniski, M. (2013). Internet-based contingency management to promote smoking cessation: a randomized controlled study. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,46, 750-764.