Effects of escalating and descending schedules of incentives on cigarette smoking in smokers without plans to quit

Paul Romanowich, R. J. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Contingent incentives can reduce substance abuse. Escalating payment schedules, which begin with a small incentive magnitude and progressively increase with meeting the contingency, increase smoking abstinence. Likewise, descending payment schedules can increase cocaine abstinence. The current experiment enrolled smokers without plans to quit in the next 6 months and compared escalating and descending payments schedules over 15 visits. In the larger incentive condition (LI, n 5 39), the largest possible incentive was $100, and in the smaller incentive condition (SI, n 5 18), the largest possible incentive was $32. In both conditions, more participants in the descending groups initiated abstinence. A higher proportion of participants in both the escalating and descending groups initiated abstinence in the LI than in the SI. Although participants in the descending groups had more abstinent visits during the first five contingent visits than those in the escalating groups, these differences were not maintained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-367
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010



  • Cigarette smoking
  • Contingency management
  • Reinforcement schedules
  • Smoking cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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