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Cost-Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Treatment Initiated During Psychiatric Hospitalization: Analysis From a Randomized, Controlled Trial

J Clin Psychiatry 2015;76(10):e1285–e1291

Objective: We examined the cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation treatment for psychiatric inpatients.

Method: Smokers, regardless of intention to quit, were recruited during psychiatric hospitalization and randomized to receive stage-based smoking cessation services or usual aftercare. Smoking cessation services, quality of life, and biochemically verified abstinence from cigarettes were assessed during 18 months of follow-up. A Markov model of cost-effectiveness over a lifetime horizon was constructed using trial findings and parameters obtained in a review of the literature on quit and relapse rates and the effect of smoking on health care cost, quality of life, and mortality.

Results: Among 223 smokers randomized between 2006 and 2008, the mean cost of smoking cessation services was $189 in the experimental treatment group and $37 in the usual care condition (P < .001). At the end of follow-up, 18.75% of the experimental group was abstinent from cigarettes, compared to 6.80% abstinence in the usual care group (P < .05). The model projected that the intervention added $43 in lifetime cost and generated 0.101 additional quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $428 per QALY. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis found the experimental intervention was cost-effective against the acceptance criteria of $50,000/QALY in 99.0% of the replicates.

Conclusions: A cessation intervention for smokers identified in psychiatric hospitalization did not result in higher mental health care costs in the short-run and was highly cost-effective over the long-term. The stage-based intervention was a feasible and cost-effective way of addressing the high smoking prevalence in persons with serious mental illness.

Trial Registration: identifier: NCT00136812