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Policies that promote smoking cessation are highly cost-effective, and are more cost-effective than many other public health interventions.



The costs per life year saved by smoking cessation interventions (including both pharmacological and behavioral therapies) and smoking cessation policies leading to reduced tobacco use are small compared to other health care interventions. The cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation has been well established by many peer-reviewed studies. Generally, the less resource-intensive interventions (e.g. self-help materials) are more cost-effective than more resource-intensive interventions (e.g. NRT).
In France, the cost of full health insurance coverage of the medical management of smoking cessation in 2009 ranged from 1786 € (US$ 2507) to 2012 € (US$ 2825) per life-year gained, with an average value of 1911 € (US$ 2683). Compared to other health measures in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease already covered by health insurance, full coverage of smoking cessation was the most cost-effective approach.

In 2016 the leading experts in tobacco dependence treatment agreed on the following low cost, effective measures that could be implemented by most countries: recording of tobacco use in all medical notes; integrating brief advice into existing healthcare systems; helping healthcare workers to stop smoking; establishing a text messaging support program; providing affordable medications; and developing an official national cessation strategy and national treatment guidelines.

Despite this evidence, the cost of cessation assistance is not covered in a clear majority of low- and middle-income countries, and in 2014, only 15% of the world’s population, living in 26 countries are covered by a cessation policy that the World Health Organization calls ‘complete’.



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Raw M, Mackay J, Reddy S. Time to take tobacco dependence treatment seriously. Lancet. 2016; 387: 412-413.

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