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The cost-effectiveness of the English smoking treatment services: evidence from practice

Godfrey, C., Parrott, S., Coleman, T. and Pound, E. (2005) The cost-effectiveness of the English smoking treatment services: evidence from practice. Addiction, 100 (s2). pp. 70-83. ISSN 0965-2140

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To investigate the cost-effectiveness of English specialist smoking cessation services.


Combination of observational cost and outcome data from English smoking cessation services to calculate cost-effectiveness ratios. Multivariate analysis of factors influencing variation in services' cost-effectiveness.


Fifty-eight of the 92 specialist smoking cessation services in England in 2000/01.


Services' costs were estimated using survey data which described services' configurations, staffing, interventions delivered and development. Information on services' throughput and outcomes (as biochemically validated 4-week smoking cessation rates) were obtained from routine sources. With reference to relevant literature and assumptions about relapse and background cessation rates, 4-week cessation rates were converted first to 1-year rates. One-year cessation rates were adjusted to reflect the likely permanent smoking cessation rate attributable to service intervention and finally attributable life-years gained were calculated. A wide variety of sensitivity analyses was performed to test the robustness of the average cost-effectiveness ratio, calculated by combining the cost and life-year gained estimates, for all services. With additional data on deprivation levels in services' areas, ordinary least-squares regression techniques were used to investigate variations in individual services' costs per client and cost-effectiveness ratios.


Using an up-to-date estimate for health gain accrued by stopping smoking, the average cost per life gained was £684 (95% CI 557–811), falling to £438 when savings in future health-care costs were counted. With the worst case assumptions, the estimate of cost-effectiveness rose to £2693 per life-year saved (£2293 including future health-care costs) and fell to £227 (£102) under the most favourable assumptions. Findings are comparable to previous published studies. The regression results suggest that different factors influence cost per client and the net cost per life-year saved, indicating that decision makers should be careful in setting performance targets for these services.


In 2000/01, English smoking cessation services provided cost-effective services operating well below the benchmark of £20 000 per quality-adjusted life-year saved (QALY) that is used by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in the United Kingdom.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Health Economics (York)
The University of York > Health Sciences (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2009 15:01
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2009 15:01
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01071.x
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01071.x
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5570

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