Cost-effectiveness of increasing the reach of smoking cessation interventions in Germany: results from the EQUIPTMOD

Addiction. 2018 Jun;113 Suppl 1(Suppl Suppl 1):52-64. doi: 10.1111/add.14062. Epub 2017 Dec 15.


Aims: To evaluate costs, effects and cost-effectiveness of increased reach of specific smoking cessation interventions in Germany.

Design: A Markov-based state transition return on investment model (EQUIPTMOD) was used to evaluate current smoking cessation interventions as well as two prospective investment scenarios. A health-care perspective (extended to include out-of-pocket payments) with life-time horizon was considered. A probabilistic analysis was used to assess uncertainty concerning predicted estimates.

Setting: Germany.

Participants: Cohort of current smoking population (18+ years) in Germany.

Interventions: Interventions included group-based behavioural support, financial incentive programmes and varenicline. For prospective scenario 1 the reach of group-based behavioral support, financial incentive programme and varenicline was increased by 1% of yearly quit attempts (= 57 915 quit attempts), while prospective scenario 2 represented a higher reach, mirroring the levels observed in England.

Measurements: EQUIPTMOD considered reach, intervention cost, number of quitters, quality-of-life years (QALYs) gained, cost-effectiveness and return on investment.

Findings: The highest returns through reduction in smoking-related health-care costs were seen for the financial incentive programme (€2.71 per €1 invested), followed by that of group-based behavioural support (€1.63 per €1 invested), compared with no interventions. Varenicline had lower returns (€1.02 per €1 invested) than the other two interventions. At the population level, prospective scenario 1 led to 15 034 QALYs gained and €27 million cost-savings, compared with current investment. Intervention effects and reach contributed most to the uncertainty around the return-on-investment estimates. At a hypothetical willingness-to-pay threshold of only €5000, the probability of being cost-effective is approximately 75% for prospective scenario 1.

Conclusions: Increasing the reach of group-based behavioural support, financial incentives and varenicline for smoking cessation by just 1% of current annual quit attempts provides a strategy to German policymakers that improves the population's health outcomes and that may be considered cost-effective.

Keywords: Behavioural support; EQUIPTMOD; Germany; cost-effectiveness; pharmacotherapy; policy; smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / methods
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / economics*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*