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Economic Analysis of Smoking Cessation Therapies

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): James Milton Lightwood, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 1999 (Cycle 8) Grant #: 8RT-0007 Award: $270,206
Subject Area: Public Health, Public Policy, and Economics
Award Type: Research Project Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Smoking cessation therapy provided by medical professionals is one of the cheapest ways to improve health. The average smoker who receives therapy gets more years of life at low cost. Smoking-related cancers of the lungs, throat, mouth, and other organs, as well as heart disease, can be avoided very cheaply. Several studies have shown that smoking cessation reduces total medical expenditures in the United States. For this reason, many health care organizations have produced guidelines that recommend medical professionals monitor the smoking status of their patients and offer smoking cessation therapy to all of those who are interested. Despite these facts, however, research has shown that the rate of identification and counseling for smokers has actually declined in recent years.

This research focuses on a question that has received little attention: Do individual medical providers, medical groups, and HMOs receive enough economic benefit from providing this therapy to make it financially attractive to provide? This study will estimate amount and timing of financial benefits from cessation therapy that go to the patient, the doctor, HMOs and other organizations. It may be that many benefits from smoking cessation occur far in the future, so the organization providing therapy does not get all the benefits. It may also be that the average net benefit of providing smoking cessation therapy is large enough to make it an attractive investment, but there is a significant amount of uncertainty in realizing the average return on a regular basis. The amount and timing of the net benefits of smoking cessation therapy will be estimated, and these estimates can be used to investigate changes in health care contracts that would improve incentives to provide smoking cessation therapy.
Publications

Smoking cessation in heart failure: it is never too late
Periodical: Journal of the American College of Cardiology Index Medicus:
Authors: Lightwood J, Fleischmann KE, Glantz SA ART
Yr: 2001 Vol: 37 Nbr: 6 Abs: Pg: 11683-11684

The economics of smoking and cardiovascular disease.
Periodical: Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases Index Medicus:
Authors: Lightwood JM ART
Yr: 2003 Vol: 46 Nbr: 1 Abs: Pg: 39-78