Estimating the Short-term Clinical and Economic Benefits of Smoking Cessation: Do We Have it Right?

Joseph Menzin; Lisa M Lines; Jeno Marton


Expert Rev Pharmacoeconomics Outcomes Res. 2009;9(3):257-264. 

In This Article


The short-term clinical benefits of smoking cessation are particularly evident for certain groups of smokers, such as cardiovascular patients, pregnant women and patients undergoing surgery. Smoking cessation reduces overall mortality, cardiovascular mortality and cancer-related mortality within 5 years of quitting and, in some cases, the risks are reduced to the levels of never smokers.

However, the short-term economic benefits of smoking cessation are harder to measure. There is limited evidence of reduced hospitalizations or lower direct costs in studies of the general population, but there is some evidence in specific groups, such as those with heart disease or undergoing orthopedic surgery. Observational studies and models have found conflicting results in terms of the short-term impact of smoking cessation on healthcare utilization. Most of the published decision analytic models report savings that are largely based on assumptions that may be out-of-date and/or flawed. Epidemiologic-based models are more convincing, but typically have been limited to specific populations.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.