Tobacco smoking is highly prevalent among people attending treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD). In the UK, specialist support to stop smoking is largely delivered by a national network of Stop Smoking Services, and typically comprises of behavioural support delivered by trained practitioners on an individual (one-to-one) or group basis combined with a pharmacological smoking cessation aid. We evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these interventions, and compare cost-effectiveness for interventions using group- and individual-based support, in populations under treatment for SUD.
Economic modelling was used to evaluate the incremental cost-per-quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained for smoking cessation interventions compared to alternative methods of quitting for the SUD treatment population. Allowance was made for potentially lower abstinence rates in the SUD population.
The incremental cost per QALY gained from quit attempts supported through more frequently provided interventions in England ranged from around £4,700 to £12,200. These values are below the maximum cost-effectiveness threshold adopted by policy makers in England for judging whether health programmes are a cost-effective use of resources. The estimated cost-per QALY gained for Interventions using group-based behavioural support were estimated to be at least half the magnitude of those using individual support due to lower intervention costs and higher reported quit rates. Conclusions reached regarding the cost-effectiveness of group-based interventions were also found to be more robust to changes in modelling assumptions.
Smoking cessation interventions were found to be cost-effective when applied to the SUD population, particularly when grouped-based behavioural support is offered alongside pharmacological treatment.
This analysis has shown that smoking cessation interventions combining pharmacological treatment with behavioural support can offer a cost-effective method for increasing rates of smoking cessation in populations being treated for a substance use disorder. This is despite evidence of lower comparative success rates in terms of smoking abstinence in populations with SUD. Our evaluation suggests that medication combined with group-based behavioural support may offer better value for money in this population compared to interventions using individual support, though further evidence on the comparative effectiveness and cost of interventions delivered to SUD treatment populations would facilitate a more robust comparison.