Cost-effectiveness of a smoking cessation program implemented at the time of surgery for lung cancer

J Thorac Oncol. 2009 Apr;4(4):499-504. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e318195e23a.


Background: Many patients are active smokers at the time of a diagnosis of surgically resectable lung cancer. Perioperative smoking cessation is associated with improved survival, but the cost-effectiveness of a smoking cessation program initiated immediately before surgery is unknown.

Methods: We developed a decision analytic Markov model to evaluate the incremental cost-effectiveness of a formal smoking cessation program. The parameter estimates were taken from the available literature. The model included the cost and effectiveness of the smoking cessation program, cost and incidence of perioperative complications, postoperative mortality, and utility measured in quality adjusted life years (QALY). Dollars per QALY and life year were calculated and one-way sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: The cost/QALY and cost/life year were $16,415 and $45,629 at 1 year after surgery and $2609 and $2703 at 5 years, respectively. Most sensitivity analyses showed the 1 year postsurgery cost/QALY estimates were less than $50,000, and all were less than $12,000 at 5 years. Cost-effectiveness estimates were most sensitive to the frequency of perioperative complications and the estimated short-term utility estimates.

Conclusion: A smoking cessation program initiated before surgical lung resection is cost-effective at both 1 and 5 years postsurgery. Providers should encourage patients who are still smoking to engage in formal smoking cessation programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / economics*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / economics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Markov Chains
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Smoking Cessation / economics*