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California Gives Money to Smokers Who Want to Quit

According to The Sacramento Bee, a new Affordable Care Act grant allows California smokers enrolled in Medicaid a $20 gift card if they participate in telephone counseling to help them quit smoking. The cards can be used at such stores as Walmart, Safeway, and Target.

Program supporters believe the initiative may demonstrate that monetary rewards can improve health and lower the cost of the nation’s healthcare. During the pilot program, the state’s quit smoking help line doubled its intake calls.

University of California Davis researcher, Elisa Tong, stated the amount of smokers in California who receive Medicaid exceeds the amount of smokers in the state who do not.

Medicaid patients in California who smoke cigarettes and have chronic health problems will be invited to join the program. Some of the participants will receive vouchers they can trade for nicotine patches. Also, participants who take part in relapse prevention counseling will receive $10 per session.

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