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Evaluation of the quit4u smoking cessation scheme

Man smoking
Published: May 2012


1. To assess the effectiveness of combining pharmacotherapy interventions with financial incentives and behaviour support in encouraging take-up and successful quit attempts among people in areas of deprivation.

2. To identify key ‘mechanisms of change’ that contribute to take-up and quit rates (or drop out) at one, three and 12-month post-quit dates.

3. To draw generalisable conclusions to inform the design and development of smoking cessation services.


Effectiveness in encouraging take-up of cessation services

All the elements of quit4u appear to have played a role in attracting participants to join the scheme. The small-scale survey suggests that the financial incentives may provide a trigger as an additional motivation to (a) give up and (b) give up with support. The evaluation provides some evidence to suggest that quit4u’s geographical focus was successful in encouraging people to join at the same time as family/friends/neighbours. This may have been a contributing factor in participant’s quit success.

Effectiveness in increasing quit rates

Quit4u was associated with higher quit rates at one, three and 12 months compared with the average quit rates of other NHS cessation services in Scotland, and represents a highly cost-effective use of NHS resources. Participant’s accounts of the support received from pharmacies suggests that CO tests may have helped to provide an additional focus for encouragement and support, which may, in turn have improved engagement with pharmacy staff.

‘Mechanisms of change’

Participant’s motivations related to:

  • Health
  • Finance
  • Family and friends
  • Life stage
  • Cultural change
  • The services offered by quit4u
  • Perceived ‘readiness’ to quit


It is important to note that the percentage of quit attempts ‘lost to follow-up’ complicates comparisons between quit4u and other smoking cessation services and introduces uncertainty around the difference in quit rates. However, this evaluation indicates that quit4u provides an effective model for engaging and supporting smokers in deprived areas to quit.


  • Secondary analysis of smoking cessation data.
  • Primary research with participants; small-scale surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups.
  • Primary research with professionals involved in the planning and delivery of quit4u. 

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