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How to Get Paid to Quit Smoking and Live Longer

If you’ve been a smoker for a long time and have tried every method of smoking cessation to no avail, maybe the idea of getting paid to quit smoking might help you finally give up on cigarettes.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 70% of smokers say they want to stop, but only about 6% of them succeed.

The nicotine in cigarettes is so addictive that current statistics show that it can take a smoker up to 30 attempts before they succeed, even if they know the negative consequences to their health and their loved ones’ health.

Having the right support can make all the difference. Smoking cessation programs focus on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), medication, counseling/therapy, or all three.

But a recent study has shown that monetary incentives work. Smokers in the study who received cash rewards were more likely to have stopped smoking compared to those who didn’t.

So, how can you get paid to quit smoking?

5 Ways You Can Get Paid to Quit Smoking

Aside from the money you’ll save by not buying cigarettes anymore, there are additional ways you can also make money on top of kicking this habit.

Here are the 5 best ways to get paid to quit smoking.

1. Join a Paid Clinical Trial

The medical and research industries actually want people to succeed in quitting smoking. They’ve been paying volunteers to participate in clinical trials for years.

These paid clinical trials are offered by the government, non-profit organizations, and private companies. They’re mostly involved in the development of smoking cessation products, such as patches, inhalers, gum, prescription tablets, and other quit smoking aids.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Get free tools — You may receive free patches, meds, training materials, and other tools needed for the study. Sometimes, you also get vouchers, transportation passes, and other extras to make it easier for you to participate in the trial.
  • Get paid after the study — To make sure volunteers participate until the end of the clinical trial, payment is given after the study.
  • Payment amount varies — You can get paid to quit smoking for a couple of hundred dollars for a day or two of clinical trials. The longer the duration of the trial, the higher you can get paid. For example, a study may pay $1,500 for a two-week commitment wherein you’ll need to physically go to a center each morning and get your heart rate checked.

You can find clinical trials in local universities, local hospitals, and research centers.

I keep an updated list of paid clinical studies here, as well as a list of paid online research studies. Check these pages regularly as there may be studies targeting smokers specifically.

The National Institute of Health’s website also keeps an up to date list of quit-smoking clinical trials from both government agencies and private organizations.

As of this writing, there are 166 different smoking cessation clinical trials currently recruiting. Keep an eye out for the words “financial incentive” to be compensated for joining.

2. Find a Program From a Private Organization

You can find plenty of support from the private sector. Some pay cash for you to get into a quit-smoking program, while others give away free aids.

  • Kick It California — If you’re a California resident, you may be eligible for a two-week supply of free nicotine patches, sent directly to you. To see if you qualify, call 1-800-300-8086.
  • Quit Partner — Minnesota residents can sign up to receive free quit medications (choose from nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges) along with a customized quit guide. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to sign up.
  • NY SmokeFree — If you’re a resident of New York State, you may be eligible for free nicotine patches. To find out if you qualify, call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487), apply online, or request a call from them.
  • Project Quit — They are a research team based in the Medical University of South Carolina aiming to develop and improve smoking cessation treatments. Join their program and if you qualify, you’ll be paid to participate.

Even your church and other similar organizations have partnered with the federal government in giving support to people who are quitting smoking.

The CDC has a list of faith-based organizations with smoking cessation programs for their community.

3. Let the Government Help You

It has been proven that the government can save 50x more money for every dollar spent on helping people quit smoking.

In fact, California’s tobacco control program saved $134 billion in personal health care expenditures from its start in 1989 to 2008. That’s a whopping ROI of $55 saved for every $1 spent on the program.

As such, both the national and local governments offer plenty of smoking cessation programs.

Probably the most important and significant out of all the U.S. government’s programs come from The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which pays potential quitters with money through Medicare, Traditional Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion, or other health insurance plans.

The American Lung Association lists down all health plans and the type of smoking cessation program covered.

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4. Ask Your Employer

Employers know that they can save up to $5,000 annually for every employee who quits smoking.

Not only do smoking cessation programs extend the lives of employees, but it also saves the company money from lowered healthcare costs, increased workplace productivity (since there are fewer smoking breaks), and prevented premature deaths.

Aside from participating in clinical studies, some companies also create their own smoking cessation programs.

In 2015, the National Business Group on Health surveyed 121 large companies and discovered that that the average money won by those deciding to quit smoking was $900 every year.

The cash incentive varies from one company to the next. For example:

  • A 200-employee-strong IT company may offer $300 in reimbursements a year to employees buying smoking-cessation aids or meds
  • A 50-employee ad agency may give an employee a $250 check to quit smoking.
  • An architectural firm may pay an employee $300 to get an age-appropriate checkup (with an extra $300 if they take their spouse with them).

Even if most companies pay only up to $500 a year, cash incentives are still effective for some people.

Unfortunately, companies are having trouble going all-in on cash-based smoking cessation programs because non-smokers are finding them unfair.

Non-smokers do have a bigger percentage discount on health insurance, while smokers can pay up to 18% in penalties as long as they continue their smoking habit.

5. Find Extra Money from Quitting

These methods do not actually reward an ex-smoker any money, but these are the ways that your decision to quit smoking will result in extra money in the bank.

These include:

Tax savings from cigarettes

The government increases the taxes for cigarettes and alcoholic drinks regularly in hopes of discouraging people from buying them. Unfortunately, based on government statistics, levying heavy taxes on cigarettes doesn’t seem to inspire people to quit smoking.

The taxes on a single pack of cigarettes range from 17¢ to $5.10, depending on which state you live in.

If you smoke a pack a day in New York (a state which adds $4.35 taxes per pack), you can easily save $130/month or a whopping $1,500/year just by quitting your smoking habit.

That’s money in your pocket instead of ash in your ashtray.

Note that this is only your savings in tax, which is on top of your savings in the actual retail price of the cigarettes.

Health insurance savings

Like the tax savings you get from quitting smoking, the savings you get from your health insurance premiums will be significant enough that you can afford an annual trip, or buy the newest smartphone every year.

Insurance companies are given the right to charge up to 50% higher premiums on health plans for smokers.

It’s written under the Affordable Care Act, too! As such, if you’ve been a smoker for over a decade or so, you could be paying double the amount compared to a regular health plan for a non-smoker and their family.

Translated to its monetary value, that’s more or less $300 to $500 extra premium/year that you’ve been paying as a smoker. Of course, this amount will depend on the insurer, your health plan, and the state where you reside in.

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“Get Paid to Quit Smoking” Apps

You can find many awesome quit-smoking apps for both Android and iOS.

Different people can have different motivations to quit smoking, and this selection of apps have been proven to work in different ways. It’s a matter of finding the app that best fits you and your lifestyle.

What these apps have in common is that they track how much money you’ve saved so far from not smoking.

With this information, you can pay yourself that amount of money or keep a jar where you can put in the amount, so you have a more visual reminder of those savings.

At the end of a week, month, or year, buy yourself a reward with the savings. Essentially, you paid yourself to quit smoking.

Time to Kick the Habit and Live a Healthier Lifestyle

I hope you can find one or a few programs from the list above that can help you actually get paid to quit smoking.

While you’re quitting smoking, you may want to change other aspects of your lifestyle to lead a healthier life. Why not get paid to lose weight, get paid to walk, or get paid to eat?

Or if quitting smoking has got you feeling idle and don’t want to do anything, know that you can get paid to do nothing as well.