The smoking cessation in pregnancy incentives trial (CPIT): Study protocol for a phase III randomised controlled trial

Lesley Sinclair, Margaret McFadden, Helen Tilbrook, Alex Mitchell, Ada Keding, Judith Watson, Linda Bauld, Frank Kee, David Torgerson, Catherine Hewitt, Jennifer McKell, Pat Hoddinott, Fiona M. Harris, Isabelle Uny, Kathleen Boyd, Nicola McMeekin, Michael Ussher, David M. Tappin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Eighty per cent of UK women have at least one baby, making pregnancy an opportunity to help women stop smoking before their health is irreparably compromised. Smoking cessation during pregnancy helps protect infants from miscarriage, still birth, low birth weight, asthma, attention deficit disorder and adult cardiovascular disease. UK national guidelines highlight lack of evidence for effectiveness of financial incentives to help pregnant smokers quit. This includes a research recommendation: within a UK context, are incentives an acceptable, effective and cost-effective way to help pregnant women who smoke to quit?

METHODS: The Cessation in Pregnancy Incentives Trial (CPIT) III is a pragmatic, 42-month, multi-centre, parallel-group, individually randomised controlled superiority trial of the effect on smoking status of adding to usual Stop Smoking Services (SSS) support, the offer of up to £400 of financial voucher incentives, compared with usual support alone, to quit smoking during pregnancy. Participants (n = 940) are pregnant smokers (age > 16 years, < 24 weeks pregnant, English speaking), who consent via telephone to take part and are willing to be followed-up in late pregnancy and 6 months after birth. The primary outcome is cotinine/anabasine-validated abstinence from smoking in late pregnancy. Secondary outcomes include engagement with SSS, quit rates at 4 weeks from agreed quit date and 6 months after birth, and birth weight. Outcomes will be analysed by intention to treat, and regression models will be used to compare treatment effects on outcomes. A meta-analysis will include data from the feasibility study in Glasgow. An economic evaluation will assess cost-effectiveness from a UK NHS perspective. Process evaluation using a case-study approach will identify opportunities to improve recruitment and learning for future implementation. Research questions include: what is the therapeutic efficacy of incentives; are incentives cost-effective; and what are the potential facilitators and barriers to implementing incentives in different parts of the UK?

DISCUSSION: This phase III trial in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland follows a successful phase II trial in Glasgow, UK. The participating sites have diverse SSS that represent most cessation services in the UK and serve demographically varied populations. If found to be acceptable and cost-effective, this trial could demonstrate that financial incentives are effective and transferable to most UK SSS for pregnant women.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials, ISRCTN15236311. Registered on 9 October 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number183
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2020


  • Financial incentives
  • Intervention
  • Maternal and child health
  • Outcomes
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevention
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Smoking cessation

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