Good old-fashioned capitalism may be the best solution to a public health problem.
Cigarette smoking in the U.S. has dropped dramatically since the landmark publication of the 1964 U.S. Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health.
This has led to improved health for millions of Americans.Those reductions however are unevenly distributed.Smoking remains prevalent among impoverished groups – those with other substance-use disorders or mental illness – certain ethnic/racial minorities and gender/sexual minorities.In some populations such as disadvantaged women smoking rates have actually increased during this period.
There are few silver bullets when it comes to serious health challenges like cigarette smoking.
However research has shown something that works: Financial incentives in the form of vouchers to promote smoking cessation and other health-related behavior change works especially well among vulnerable populations.