Comparative Analysis of Three Different Drug Distribution Schemes for Smoking Cessation

Turk Thorac J. 2021 Mar;22(2):110-117. doi: 10.5152/TurkThoracJ.2020.19111. Epub 2021 Mar 1.


Objective: This study aimed to compare the success rate of 3 different drug prescription policies: Free drugs with online system prescription, free drugs with doctor's prescription, and drugs paid for by patients with doctor's prescription.

Material and methods: The effect of 2 different Ministry of Health (MoH) projects with free-of-charge and self-payment pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation were compared. Patients who completed 6 months of pharmacotherapy and follow-up were evaluated. The first period was free-of-charge medication, which was determined by an online system, the following period was the self-payment period, and the third period was free medication, which was prescribed by a doctor. In all the groups, smoking habits in pack years and comorbidities of the patients were recorded, and pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and expiratory carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements were performed. Patients who had an expiratory CO2 level >5 ppm at the control visits were accepted as quitters.

Results: A total of 829 patients with 438 patients in the first free-of-charge period (group 1), 111 in the self-payment period (group 2), and 280 in the second free-of-charge period (group 3) were enrolled in the study. Smoking cessation rates were significantly higher in the self-payment medication group (25%) according to the MoH's free-of-charge project groups. There was no difference in smoking cessation rates between the 2 free-of-charge medication project groups (15% in group 1 and 11% of group 3). Among all the patients, we compared 124 patients who quit smoking with 705 patients who did not. The quitters were older, mostly male, and heavier smokers. In addition, the number of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and obstructive PFT rates were higher among the quitters. Their dependency score, PFTs, and the use of free medication was lower, and treatment duration was longer. Independent factors that increased smoking cessation success were longer treatment duration, lower dependency score, and self-payment of medication.

Conclusion: Free medications provided via 2 different modalities did not increase the smoking cessation success. Paying for the medication, lower dependency score, and longer treatment duration increased smoking cessation success independently.