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Cost and effectiveness of the nationwide government-supported Smoking Cessation Clinics in the Republic of Korea
  1. Jin-Kyoung Oh1,
  2. Min Kyung Lim1,
  3. E Hwa Yun1,
  4. Sang Hwa Shin1,
  5. Eun Young Park1,
  6. Eun-Cheol Park2
  1. 1Caner Risk Appraisal and Prevention Branch, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Republic of Korea
  2. 2Department of Preventive Medicine and Institute of Health Services Research, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Dr Min Kyung Lim, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, 323 Ilsan-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do 410-769, Republic of Korea; mickey{at}


Objective In the Republic of Korea, nationwide government-supported Smoking Cessation Clinics have been operating in 253 public health centres since 2004, but the cost and effectiveness of the service have yet to be evaluated.

Methods The cost of the service (staff salary, medication, education and promotion and overhead) was calculated from the Smoking Cessation Clinic's 2009 financial report. The number of service users, self-reported 4-week and 6-month quit rates and the proportion of nicotine replacement therapy users were collected from the service's performance monitoring data. Long-term quit rate and life-years saved by quitting were estimated and used in addition to monitoring data to evaluate the effectiveness of the service.

Results A total of 354 554 smokers used the Smoking Cessation Clinics in 2009. The self-reported 4-week and 6-month quit rates were 78% and 40%, respectively. Estimated 1-year and 8-year quit rates were 28.1% and 12.9%, respectively. The cost of the service in 2009 was US$21 127 thousand. Cost per service user who set a quit date was US$60. Cost per service user who maintained cessation at 4 weeks, 6 months and 1 year was US$76, US$149 and US$212, respectively. When considering 8-year quit rates, the cost per life-year saved was estimated at US$128 in the base scenario and increased to US$230 in the worst-case scenario.

Conclusion The nationwide government-supported public health centre-based Smoking Cessation Clinics provided highly cost-effective service at a level of 0.46% of the per capita gross domestic product.

  • Smoking cessation
  • cost–effectiveness analysis
  • Korea
  • cessation
  • prevention
  • secondhand smoke
  • addiction
  • disparities
  • economics
  • public policy
  • socioeconomic status

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  • Funding This study was partially supported by the National Cancer Center (grant nos. NCC-1010250) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data on the performance of the Korean Public Health Center-based Smoking Cessation Clinics are published annually as an internal report, and these are available from the Korean government, Ministry of Health and Welfare, at the request.