We designed and tested a voluntary commitment product to help smokers quit smoking. The product (CARES) offered smokers a savings account in which they deposit funds for six months, after which they take a urine test for nicotine and cotinine. If they pass, their money is returned; otherwise, their money is forfeited to charity. Eleven percent of smokers offered CARES tookup, and smokers randomly offered CARES were 3 percentage points more likely to pass the 6-month test than the control group. More importantly, this effect persisted in surprise tests at 12 months, indicating that CARES produced lasting smoking cessation.

Research brief is available here.

Publication type: 
Published Paper
Journal: 
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Date: 
October 01, 2010
Country: 
Program area: