Continuous tobacco use in patients with cancer is linked to substantial healthcare costs due to increased risks and complications, whereas quitting smoking leads to improved treatment outcomes and cost reductions. Addressing the need for empirical evidence on the economic impact of smoking cessation, this study examined the association between smoking cessation and healthcare cost utilization among a sample of 930 patients with cancer treated at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Tobacco Research and Treatment Program (TRTP). Applying conditional quantile regression and propensity scores to address confounding, our findings revealed that abstinence achieved through the TRTP significantly reduced the median cost during a 3-month period post-quitting by $1,095 [β = −$1,095, P = 0.007, 95% confidence interval (CI), = (−$1,886 to −$304)]. Sensitivity analysis corroborated these conclusions, showing a pronounced cost reduction when outlier data were excluded. The long-term accrued cost savings from smoking cessation could potentially offset the cost of participation in the TRTP program, underscoring its cost effectiveness. An important implication of this study is that by reducing smoking rates, healthcare systems can more efficiently allocate resources, enhance patient health outcomes, and lessen the overall cancer burden.

Prevention Relevance:

This study emphasizes the dual impact of smoking cessation programs in patients with cancer: quitting smoking and reducing healthcare costs. It highlights the importance of integrating cessation programs into cancer prevention strategies, ensuring both individual health benefits and broader, system-wide economic efficiencies.

See related Spotlight, p. 197

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