Cash to quit in ‘social contract’ pilot

quit smoking: rows of cigarettes with one broken

Three Tasmanian pharmacies are set to offer a novel quit smoking program in which quitters receive financial incentives to kick the habit

Pharmacies in the Glamorgan Spring Bay area – Swansea, Triabunna and Bicheno pharmacies – will offer support within the community as well as vouchers that quitters can spend in local stores.

“They can have consultations with a pharmacist talking about steps to put them on the way to success,” a spokesperson for Swansea Pharmacy told the AJP.

“As a benefit, they receive vouchers when they reach milestones. So they’ve got to breathe into a carbon dioxide monitoring device, which will give them a reading, to see if they’ve been complying.

“If they haven, they’re given a voucher: $50 that they can spend at local businesses, but not on tobacco products. They can use it on product to cease smoking, though. And they get a $10 voucher just to come in and chat at first.

“It’s a wonderful incentive, it will offer a lot of support and everyone’s quite excited up and down the coast.”

Quitters will make seven visits to their local pharmacy over a three-month period under the scheme.

The pilot is the result of funds given to the Drug Education Network by Healthy Tasmania, and the University of Tasmania, Cancer Council Tasmania and Royal Flying Doctor Service are partners in the project.

UTAS senior lecturer Dr Mai Frandsen told the Examiner that the feeding of funds back into the community via vouchers helps participants feel they have entered into a “social contract” with locals.

“It gives a sense of community ownership to an individual’s quit journey,” she said.

“If someone chooses a voucher for a cafe they know, then the person from the cafe can recognise what is going on in their life.”

Swansea Pharmacy’s spokesperson says the staff are looking forward to talking through the benefits of quitting smoking with their customers, including the benefits of having quit for a certain number of weeks or months.

“We’ll also be doing consultations, supporting them through replacement therapy, as cold turkey is not always good; there’s quite an array of things we can do through us and also through the doctors, who can write scripts.

“We’ll be a supportive place to go and help problem-solve along the way.

“I think we’ll have a lot of support and successes with it.”

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