OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the costs and outcomes associated with the Health Education Board for Scotland's general public anti-smoking campaign during the developmental stage and its first year of operation. DESIGN: Cost information collected retrospectively was combined with prospectively collected effectiveness data. SUBJECTS: A panel of 970 adults were recruited from a 1-in-10 random sample of adult callers to the telephone helpline (Smokeline). Those who smoked were subsequently interviewed at three weeks, six months, and one year follow up. Information on smoking status at one year and time spent as a non-smoker was available for 587 members of the panel. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Intermediate outcomes in the follow-up sample included a point prevalence and period prevalence measure of smoking cessation. Long-term outcomes were measured in terms of predicted reductions in mortality as a consequence of smoking cessation. RESULTS: At the 12-month point, 9.88% of individuals in the follow-up sample reported themselves as non-smokers and as having given up for at least six months in the previous year. Estimates of the cost per life-year saved as a result of the campaign range from 304 pounds sterling to 656 pounds sterling. CONCLUSIONS: Provided that the benefits of smoking cessation are broadly accurate, and the assumed level of quitting can be directly attributed to Smokeline, then this mass media-led anti-smoking campaign appears to have been cost effective.
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