Application of a system dynamics model to inform investment in smoking cessation services in New Zealand

Am J Public Health. 2010 Jul;100(7):1274-81. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.171165. Epub 2010 May 13.


Objectives: We estimated the long-term effects of smoking cessation interventions to inform government decision-making regarding investment in tobacco control.

Methods: We extracted data from the 2006 New Zealand Tobacco Use Survey and other sources and developed a system dynamics model with the iThink computer simulation package. The model derived estimates of population cessation rates from smoking behaviors and applied these over a 50-year period, from 2001 to 2051, under business-as-usual and enhanced cessation intervention scenarios.

Results: The model predicted larger effects by 2051 with the enhanced cessation than with the business-as-usual scenario, including: an 11% greater decline in adult current smoking prevalence (9 versus 10 per 100 people), 16% greater decline in per capita tobacco consumption (370 versus 440 cigarette equivalents per year), and 11% greater reduction in tobacco-attributable mortality (3000 versus 3300 deaths per year).

Conclusions: The model generated reliable estimates of the effects on health and on tobacco use of interventions designed to enhance smoking cessation. These results informed a decision announced in May 2007 to increase funding for smoking cessation by NZ $42 million over 4 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Health Policy / economics*
  • Health Promotion / economics
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / economics*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Systems Theory*
  • Young Adult