Objective: Smoking cessation and relapse prevention during and after pregnancy reduces the risk of adverse maternal and infant health outcomes, but the economic evaluations of such programs have not been systematically reviewed. This study aims to critically assess economic evaluations of smoking cessation and relapse prevention programs for pregnant women.
Methods: All relevant English-language articles were identified using PubMed (January 1966–2003), the British National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database, and reference lists of key articles. Economic evaluations of smoking cessation and relapse prevention among pregnant women were reviewed. Fifty-one articles were retrieved, and eight articles were included and evaluated. A single reviewer extracted methodological details, study designs, and outcomes into summary tables. All studies were reviewed, and study quality was judged using the criteria recommended by the Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) checklist for economic evaluations.
Results: The search retrieved 51 studies. No incremental cost-effectiveness studies or cost-utility studies were found. A narrative synthesis was conducted on the eight studies thatmet the inclusion criteria. Roughly one-third employed cost–benefit analyses (CBA). Those conducting CBA have found favorable benefit–cost ratios of up to 3:1; for every dollar invested $3 are saved in downstream health-related costs.
Conclusions: CBA suggests favorable cost–benefit ratios for smoking cessation among pregnant women, although currently available economic evaluations of smoking cessation and relapse prevention programs for pregnant women provide limited evidence on cost-effectiveness to determine optimal resource allocation strategies. Although none of these studies had been performed in accordance with Panel recommendations or BMJ guidelines, they are, however, embryonic elements of a more systematic framework. Existing analyses suggest that the return on investment will far outweigh the costs for this critical population. There is significant potential to improve the quality of economic evaluations of such programs; therefore, additional analyses are needed. The article concludes with ideas on how to design and conduct an economic evaluation of such programs in accordance with accepted quality standards.