Annals of Health Law
STRATEGY AGAINST SMOKING
amount in question and the detection test’s inability to identify second hand
smoke, 167 the credit balance shall only be erased after the third time of
smoking detection to prevent unjust results. While each participant has
access to review his credit balance, he cannot spend the money until he
reaches the age of twenty-five. To avoid participation of smokers close to
this age limit aiming to make easy money, the account shall only be
established if the applicant is younger than twenty-three at the time of
application. It seems worth considering allowing participants to spend the
money earlier on specific causes, e.g. education, or in case of emergency.
In the best-case scenario, a ten-year-old could receive an amount of $3,425
plus interest when he turns twenty-five without having smoked and he
would have the further opportunity of increasing that amount through the
In order to encourage at least four-week periods of non-smoking, one
might consider distributing the weekly lottery rewards only in case the
participant also did not smoke within the following three weeks.
A government agency under the authority of the health ministry yet to be
created shall implement and coordinate the whole concept. For the
purposes of this article the agency shall be called “Incentivized Tobacco
Abrogation Agency” (ITAA).
1. Underlying Considerations from Behavioral Economics
The concept against smoking initiation is designed on the basis of the
described insights from behavioral economics. Following these insights,
there are several reasons to adopt a weekly lottery as the essential incentive.
First and foremost, the non-linear probability weighting168 is expected to
affect the participants’ perception of the actual value of the potential
rewards. Instead of arriving at the rational conclusion that the chances of
winning ten dollars or $100 respectively equals an actual weekly value of
$3.33, participants will tend to overestimate their chances of winning.
Thereby, a greater incentive is provided and the resources are invested in a
more efficient way than they would be by regularly disbursing the
corresponding amount. The tendency to discount rewards if they are too
small amplifies this effect. If frequent disbursements were made, the
“peanuts effect” 169 could only be countervailed by offering higher rewards.
This would in turn lower cost effectiveness. Providing a high probability of
winning ten dollars and a small probability of winning $100 is motivated by
the impact the actual experience of past rewards and the prospect of future