Quit smoking to boost your reproductive system.
Quit smoking to boost your reproductive system.

Are you desperately trying to quit smoking? Here's a game that may help you do that just by betting on yourself.

The Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute is studying the new method of quitting smoking by allowing participants to play a game, called QuitBet. It is quite simple – bet on yourself and win money if you could successfully stay away from cigarettes.

The participants can place of bet of $30 on themselves and win the money back, along with a profit if they could manage to refrain from smoking for at least four weeks. The money collected from the participants will be added to a pot and it will be divided among the winners at the end of that period. Most participants who quit smoking will get double the amount they invested.

This innovative game was developed by WayBetter. It was part of a series of "serious games" funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aimed at improving people's health and lifestyle in a fun way. Other such games include DietBet, a weight loss game, and StepBet, which will track your steps.

The NIH has provided $1.15 million for the QuitBet research.

QuitBet participants have to take a breath test every day using a device connected to their smartphones. The study will also test the impact of social support on the participants.

"Quitting smoking is hard, but who said it also has to be solitary and frustrating?" said Jamie Rosen, CEO and founder of WayBetter. "Why not mix in some fun, friendly competition and the thrill of winning money? It's a powerful new way to think about the problem. We're finding that it really helps people get through those tough first few weeks."

"We've known for years that paying people to change behaviors, known as contingency management, works to help people stop smoking. However, implementing contingency management in a sustainable way is difficult. QuitBet solves this by having players self-fund their own incentives," said Sandra Japuntich, a Hennepin Healthcare investigator who was part of the study.

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Photo: Tumisu/ Pixabay