Did You Know – That Modest Incentives Can Promote Equity in Utilization of Tobacco Cessation Services?

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Certain racial and ethnic minorities have lower utilization of tobacco cessation services, such as Helpline counseling and cessation medications. The goal of the California Medicaid (Medi-Cal) Incentives to Quit Smoking Program was to facilitate successful cessation by promoting modest financial and cessation medication-related incentives to increase engagement with the California Smokers’ Helpline counseling services. A newly published study examined differences in the response to incentives and outreach on engagement with Helpline services among racial/ethnic groups within the Medi-Cal population.
Findings included:
  •  African Americans and English-speaking Hispanics/Latinos had higher engagement with the financial incentive ($20) compared to whites.
  • Spanish-speaking Hispanics/Latinos had lower initial engagement with the financial incentive but higher engagement with Medi-Cal’s all-household mailing.
  • Although African Americans and English-speaking Hispanics/Latinos had similar rates of completing counseling and receiving nicotine replacement therapy as whites, Spanish-speaking Hispanics/Latinos had higher rates compared to whites.
The researchers concluded that the promotion of modest financial and cessation medication incentives through multiple outreach channels increased callers’ engagement with the Helpline and appeared to promote ethnic and linguistic equity with respect to the receipt of counseling and nicotine replacement therapy. Targeted community-based outreach may resonate particularly for African Americans, and language-concordant Medi-Cal insurance plan mailings may have reached newly covered Spanish-speaking Hispanics/Latinos.
Source: Vijayaraghavan et al. (2018). Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Response to Incentives for Quitline Engagement. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dec;55(6S2):S186-S195. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.07.018.

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