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Cost-effectiveness of pharmacy and group behavioural support smoking cessation services in Glasgow


Kathleen Boyd, Health Economics Research Fellow, Public Health and Health Policy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK. Email:


Aims  Smokers attending group-based support for smoking cessation in Glasgow are significantly more likely to be successful than those attending pharmacy-based support. This study examined the cost-effectiveness of these two modes of support.

Design  Combination of observational study data and information from National Health Service (NHS) Greater Glasgow and Clyde smoking cessation services.

Setting  Glasgow, Scotland.

Participants  A total of 1979 smokers who accessed either of the cessation services between March and May 2007.

Intervention  Two smoking treatment services offering one-to-one support in pharmacies, and providing group counselling in the community.

Measurements  Routine monitoring data on resource use and smoking status (carbon monoxide-validated, self-reported, non-quitters and relapsers) at 4-week follow-up.

Findings  The incremental cost per 4-week quitter for pharmacy support was found to be approximately £772, and £1612 for group support, in comparison to self-quit cessation attempts. These findings compare favourably with previously published outcomes from cost-effectiveness smoking cessation studies. Assuming a relapse rate of 75% from 4 weeks to 1 year and a further 35% beyond 1 year, and combining this with an average of 1.98 quality adjusted life years (QALY) gained per permanent cessation, provides an estimated incremental cost per QALY of £4400 for the pharmacy service and £5400 for group support service.

Conclusions  Group support and pharmacy-based support for smoking cessation are both extremely cost-effective.