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Philip MacKenzie

How to Get Paid to Quit Smoking

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Researchers who study ways to help people stop smoking are often looking for smokers to participate in clinical trials. Participants in these studies receive state-of-the-art treatment and usually receive counseling, nicotine-replacement aids, or medications for free. Many studies also pay participants. Long-term studies might have a hefty completion bonus for people who show up for all their follow-up appointments. An added benefit is that you will be contributing to the progress of research. Another way to get paid to quit smoking is to find out if you are lucky enough to have an employer, school or city that is willing to pay you to quit.

Call local research medical centers to see if they have any stop-smoking clinical trials. Also keep an eye out for ads soliciting study participants in newspapers and in the "Etc." jobs section on

Attend an orientation meeting to learn more about what's involved in the study, and if you decide you are interested, sign an informed consent form. Take whatever screening tests are necessary to see if you qualify for the study.

Attend all required sessions in order to get paid the maximum amount available.

Alternatively, find out if your employer or school pays its employees or students to stop smoking. These programs have been proven to be successful, and might become more common in the future.

Find out if your local government has any plans to pay people to stop smoking. At least two cities have experimented with paying people to quit. Even if your city or town doesn't have such a program, check to see if they offer any stop-smoking programs for free.


While corporate, school and city programs use payment as an incentive to get people to stop smoking, and therefore pay people only if they successfully quit, clinical research trials pay all participants, whether they are smoke-free at the end of the study or not.


If you enroll in a study, you will usually be randomly assigned to a treatment or a control group, so you might not receive the treatment. In some studies, though, everyone receives, and benefits from, treatment for an initial period, and it's only afterward that participants are split into treatment and control groups. This will all be explained to you at your initial informational meeting.