Smoke Less, Earn More
by Evan Thorpe
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death globally, and it’s a major cost burden to two bedrock industries: healthcare and financial services. Healthcare costs of a smoker are 34% higher than a non-smoker, and according to the CDC, $170b per year in healthcare costs can be attributable to smokers.
In the US, there are 34 million smokers, and globally, there are 1.1 billion smokers. In 2018, smoking killed nearly 8 million people, and according to a study just published in The Lancet, the collection of new smokers is primarily composed of young people.
Smoking prevalence among lower income households in the US is greater than it is among higher income households. According to the CDC, Americans making less than $25,000 per year have a smoking rate of 25%, close to double the rate of those making more than $25,000 per year. Smoking is a chronic issue that directly affects our finances: smoking affects our health, which affects how we spend our money, which in turn affects our health.
When it comes to changing behavior in healthcare to drive down preventable costs and increase quality outcomes, the status quo is no longer cutting it. Smoking is a massive problem that impacts our financial and medical lives, particularly among financially vulnerable populations.
Despite tobacco users being at higher risk for severe Covid-19 during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, tobacco purchases rose again. High levels of stress and uncertainty, along with people feeling isolated and working from home, have overwhelmed cessation efforts. New approaches are needed.
Vincere Health’s evidence-based clinical solution, which combines data, technology, financial incentives, and behavioral science to reduce smoking prevalence, is proving to be effective.
Vincere, which gets its name from the Latin word meaning “to overcome,” is setting a new bar for driving desired outcomes in healthcare while amassing a unique and potentially monetizable data set that cross references behavioral health data with responses to financial incentives.
Vincere Health is a vertically integrated digital health platform that uses financial incentives with patients to drive adherence to treatment plans and break bad health habits. Co-founded by Shalen De Silva and Jake Keteyian, Vincere is a Boston-based company that SixThirty Fund III invested in as part of the Seed equity financing in July 2021.