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Cost-effectiveness analysis of smoking cessation interventions using cell phones in a low-income population


Background The prevalence of cigarette smoking is significantly higher among those living at or below the federal poverty level. Cell phone-based interventions among such populations have the potential to reduce smoking rates and be cost-effective.

Methods We performed a cost-effectiveness analysis of three smoking cessation interventions: Standard Care (SC) (brief advice to quit, nicotine replacement therapy and self-help written materials), Enhanced Care (EC) (SC plus cell phone-delivered messaging) and Intensive Care (IC) (EC plus cell phone-delivered counselling). Quit rates were obtained from Project ACTION (Adult smoking Cessation Treatment through Innovative Outreach to Neighborhoods). We evaluated shorter-term outcomes of cost per quit and long-term outcomes using cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY).

Results For men, EC cost an additional $541 per quit vs SC; however, IC cost an additional $5232 per quit vs EC. For women, EC was weakly dominated by IC—IC cost an additional $1092 per quit vs SC. Similarly, for men, EC had incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $426 per QALY gained vs SC; however, IC resulted in ICER of $4127 per QALY gained vs EC. For women, EC was weakly dominated; the ICER of IC vs SC was $1251 per QALY gained. The ICER was below maximum acceptable willingness-to-pay threshold of $50 000 per QALY under all alternative modelling assumptions.

Discussion Cell phone interventions for low socioeconomic groups are a cost-effective use of healthcare resources. Intensive Care was the most cost-effective strategy both for men and women.

Trial registration number NCT00948129; Results.

  • smoking cessation
  • cost and cost analysis
  • decision making
  • underserved populations
  • community outreach
  • mobile clinic

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