Players receive a free breathing test device to track their progress every day. In the end, all players who have managed to drop take back their bets and profit as they split the pot with the other winners. Winners usually double their money when they quit smoking.
Developed by digital-health company Webator, QuietBet is an example of the “serious game” movement where games are used to improve health.
Serious sports can take things like quitting smoking and adding social elements like competition, social support, and in this case, the incentive to put money on the line, making it fun and tempting to adopt healthy habits.
QuitBet builds on other successful WayBetter products such as DietBet (a weight loss game) and StepBet (a running game).
Jamie Rosen, founder and CEO of Webator, is the study’s principal investigator. Sandra Japuntich, PhD, a Hennepin Healthcare Investigator, is providing scientific support. The study was funded with $1.15 million from the National Institutes of Health.
“We have known for years that paying people to change behavior, known as contingency management, works to help people stop smoking. However, it is difficult to implement contingency management in a sustainable way. QuitBet solves this by letting players self-fund their own incentives,” said Dr. Japuntich.
In this QuitBet study, Players prove they are not smoking by taking carbon monoxide breath tests every day Using a device connected to their smartphone, which is provided free of charge to the participants.
The study will test whether providing social support during play via a social feed improves abstinence rates or user satisfaction.
“Quitting smoking is hard, but who said it also has to be solitary and depressing?” Rosen said. “Why not mix in some fun, friendly competition and the thrill of winning money? It’s a powerful new way of thinking about the problem. We’re finding that it really helps people through those tough first few weeks.” “