Open Access Research article

An analysis of the economic impact of smoking cessation in Europe

David Cohen*, M Fasihul Alam and Paul S Jarvis

Author Affiliations

Health Economics and Policy Research Unit, Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan CF37 1DL, UK

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:390  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-390

Published: 25 April 2013



There is much evidence that smoking cessation interventions are both clinically and cost effective but these results relate only to the specific study populations involved in the studies. The present study aimed to compare and contrast results obtained when the effects of smoking cessation are modelled for several different European countries.


Local investigators collected data relating to several smoking related diseases. Costs and disease rates were then modelled up to 2030 for reductions in smoking of 3%, 15% and 30% using an epidemiological modelling tool, PREVENT.


Models could not be constructed for some countries due to lack of data while for others substantial amounts of data had to be imputed. In all cases, disease rates fall when smoking cessation occurs. Overall costs initially fall before eventually rising as lives are saved and the population ages, leading to negative savings in some cases by the end of the modelled period. The speed and magnitude with which these effects occur are diverse for different countries.


Health and economic results for different countries vary significantly for the same reductions in smoking. This suggests that it may be inappropriate to assume that evidence from one country will produce similar health and economic effects if the same levels of smoking cessation were achieved in another country which has evident messages for health policy. Problems with obtaining data also highlight the difficulties associated with modelling such scenarios and underline the need for relevant data to be routinely collected in all countries.

Smoking; Modelling; Cost; Policy