When it comes to smoking cessation, the economics are clear. A pack a day smoker will spend $2,000-$5,000 a year on cigarettes, plus extra on health insurance, life insurance and health care in general. On average being a smoker results in $2,500 in extra healthcare costs a year and that doesn't count lost productivity.
Quitting smoking, even while using a paid program or medications like patches, is still cheaper than smoking.
Free Resources: The Department of Health in most states offers free help in the form of quitlines or other services. For example WA state offers our SmartQuit app (reg $50) free for any WA smokers who want to quit. The Smoking Cessation Trust of Louisiana is another group that offers free services and meds for smokers.
Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans are required to cover the cost of cessation programs or meds without a deductible. Although it varies by plan, most will cover some options. Many employers also offer free programs to help smokers quit. Check with your health plan, state or employer about what services they cover. (Ask about SmartQuit too!)
A new way to quit: (Apps)
Despite the options available, many smokers do not what to call a Quit coach or visit a doctor. Because of privacy, convenience and affordability, tech-enabled programs like websites and apps are increasing in popularity. One issue has been credability... do they work? The research is starting to come in.
Researchers at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center have completed the first randomized control trial of an App for Quitting smoking. In a 200 person study, they found that the SmartQuit app could double a smoker's chances of quitting. This study also looked at the unique ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) approach used in SmartQuit vs a more traditional approach. A larger, longer study funded by a $3.1M NIH grant is planned to start enrollment in 2016.
App: SmartQuit: Smoking Cessation App - A free lite version is available in the app store for iPhone and Android. The full program costs $50, but is paid for by some states, plans or employers.
Websites & Quitlines:
More Data & Resources