Free nicotine replacement therapy programs vs implementing smoke-free workplaces: a cost-effectiveness comparison

Am J Public Health. 2005 Jun;95(6):969-75. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.040667.


We compared the cost-effectiveness of a free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) program with a statewide smoke-free workplace policy in Minnesota. We conducted 1-year simulations of costs and benefits. The number of individuals who quit smoking and the quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were the measures of benefits. After 1 year, a NRT program generated 18,500 quitters at a cost of 7020 dollars per quitter (4440 dollars per QALY), and a smoke-free workplace policy generated 10,400 quitters at a cost of 799 dollars per quitter (506 dollars per QALY). Smoke-free work-place policies are about 9 times more cost-effective per new nonsmoker than free NRT programs are. Smoke-free workplace policies should be a public health funding priority, even when the primary goal is to promote individual smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Financing, Government
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / economics
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years*
  • Smoking / drug therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / economics
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • State Government
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Workplace / legislation & jurisprudence*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Nicotine