Background: As many as 70% of smokers with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) continue to smoke after hospital discharge despite high rates of inpatient smoking cessation counseling. Supportive contact after discharge improves quit rates but is rarely used.
Methods: Using data from a meta-analysis of randomized trials of smoking cessation interventions and other published sources, we developed a Monte Carlo model to project health and economic outcomes for a hypothetical US cohort of 327,600 smokers hospitalized with AMI. We compared routine care, consisting of advice to quit smoking, with counseling with supportive follow-up, consisting of routine care and follow-up telephone calls from a nurse after discharge. Primary outcomes were number of smokers, AMIs, and deaths averted; health care and productivity costs; cost per quitter; and cost per quality-adjusted life-year.
Results: Implementation of smoking cessation counseling with follow-up contact for the 2010 cohort of hospitalized smokers would create 50,230 new quitters, cost $27.3 million in nurse wages and materials, and prevent 1380 nonfatal AMIs and 7860 deaths. During a 10-year period, it would save $22.1 million in reduced hospitalizations but increase health care costs by $166.4 million, primarily through increased longevity. Productivity costs from premature death would fall by $1.99 billion and nonmedical expenditures would increase by $928 million, for a net positive value to society of $894 million. The program would cost $540 per quitter considering only intervention costs. Cost-effectiveness would be $5050 per quality-adjusted life-year. Results were sensitive to the utility and incidence of nonfatal AMI and the potential effect of pharmacotherapies.
Conclusion: Smoking cessation counseling with supportive contact after discharge is potentially cost-effective and may reduce the incidence of smoking and its associated adverse health events and social costs.