Cost‐effectiveness of e‐cigarettes compared with nicotine replacement therapy in stop smoking services in England (TEC study): a randomized controlled trial

Jinshuo Li, Peter Hajek, Francesca Pesola, Qi Wu, Anna Phillips‐Waller, Dunja Przulj, Katie Myers Smith, Natalie Bisal, Peter Sasieni, Lynne Dawkins, Louise Ross, Maciej Lukasz Goniewicz, Hayden McRobbie, Steve Parrott

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Aim To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid used in routine stop smoking services in England. Design Cost-effectiveness analysis was performed from the National Health Service (NHS) and Personal Social Services (PSS) perspective for 12-month periods and life-time. Costs, including that of both treatments, other smoking cessation help and health-care services, and health benefits, estimated from EQ-5D-5L and measured in quality-adjusted lifeyears (QALYs), for the 12-month analysis, came from a randomized controlled trial. Life-time analysis was model-based with input from both trial data and published secondary data sources. Cost-effectiveness was measured by an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). Setting Three stop-smoking service sites in England. Participants Adult smokers (n = 886) who sought help to quit in the participating sites. Intervention and comparator An e-cigarette (EC) starter kit versus provision of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for up to 3 months, both with standard behavioural support. A total of 886 participants were randomized (439 in the EC arm, 447 in the NRT arm). Excluding one death in each arm, the 1-year quit rate was 18.0 and 9.9%, respectively. Measurements Cost of treatments was estimated from the treatment log. Costs of other smoking cessation help and health-care services and EQ-5D-5 L were collected at baseline, 6- and 12- month follow-ups. Incremental costs and incremental QALYs were estimated using regression adjusting for baseline covariates and their respective baseline values. Findings The ICER was £1100 per QALY gained at the 12 months after quit date (87% probability below £20 000/QALY). Markov model estimated the life-time ICER of EC to be £65 per QALY (85% probability below £20 000/QALY). Conclusion Using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid with standard behavioural support in stop-smoking services in England is likely to be more cost-effective than using nicotine replacement therapy in the same setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-517
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Early online date9 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium,provided the original work is properly cited


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme (12/167/135) and by a grant (A16893) from the Cancer Research UK Prevention Trials Unit.


  • Cost-effectiveness
  • e-cigarette
  • economic evaluation
  • life-time modelling
  • Markov model
  • nicotine replacement therapy
  • smoking cessation
  • stop smoking services


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