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Smoking cessation programs for pregnant women: Nicotine replacement treatment

Health Care: Maternal and Infant Health
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2023.  Literature review updated December 2016.
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Nicotine replacement therapy (in the form of patches or gum) was provided to individuals in conjunction with behavioral counseling for smoking cessation during pregnancy. Individuals in comparison groups received either no nicotine replacement or a placebo patch along with behavioral counseling for smoking cessation. Individuals received treatment between 6 and 12 weeks.
For an overview of WSIPP's Benefit-Cost Model, please see this guide. The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2022). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers $366 Benefits minus costs $3,838
Participants $408 Benefit to cost ratio $29.05
Others $196 Chance the program will produce
Indirect $3,006 benefits greater than the costs 75%
Total benefits $3,975
Net program cost ($137)
Benefits minus cost $3,838

^WSIPP’s benefit-cost model does not monetize this outcome.

***We report this outcome twice: once for mothers (designated as the primary participant) and once for infants (designated as the secondary participant). We do this because the outcome is associated with costs and benefits for both mothers and infants, and the amount of the cost or benefit is different for mothers than it is for infants.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases. See Estimating Program Effects Using Effect Sizes for additional information.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment age Primary or secondary participant No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes(ES) and standard errors(SE) used in the benefit - cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
27 Primary 5 972 -0.168 0.101 27 n/a n/a n/a -0.168 0.096
27 Primary 3 638 -0.138 0.125 27 0.000 0.000 28 -0.138 0.269
27 Primary 4 830 -0.134 0.196 27 0.000 0.000 28 -0.134 0.494
1 Secondary 2 612 -0.073 0.135 1 0.000 0.000 2 -0.073 0.592
1 Secondary 3 638 -0.138 0.125 1 0.000 0.000 2 -0.138 0.269
1 Secondary 4 830 -0.134 0.196 1 0.000 0.000 2 -0.134 0.494
1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Affected outcome: Resulting benefits:1 Benefits accrue to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Preterm birth Health care associated with preterm births $22 $1 $22 $11 $55
Subtotals $22 $1 $22 $11 $55
From secondary participant
Low birthweight birth Infant mortality $170 $400 $0 $2,976 $3,546
Preterm birth Health care associated with preterm births $174 $7 $174 $87 $442
Subtotals $344 $407 $174 $3,064 $3,988
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($68) ($68)
Totals $366 $408 $196 $3,006 $3,975
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Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $177 2016 Present value of net program costs (in 2022 dollars) ($137)
Comparison costs $61 2016 Cost range (+ or -) 30%
The per-participant cost of treatment is based on physician/therapist time reported in studies, multiplied by the Medicaid reimbursement rate for tobacco cessation for pregnant clients (reported by the Washington State Health Care Authority for physician-related/professional service) plus the average unit cost of nicotine replacement treatments (either transdermal patches or gum) reported in Smoking Cessation During Pregnancy: Guidelines for Intervention. Washington State Department of Health. 2016. Costs were obtained from Berlin et al. (2014), Coleman et al. (2012), Oncken et al. (2008), and Pollak et al. (2007).
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Benefits Minus Costs
Benefits by Perspective
Taxpayer Benefits by Source of Value
Benefits Minus Costs Over Time (Cumulative Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in discounted dollars. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Berlin, I., Grange, G., Jacob, N., & Tanguy, M.L. (2014). Nicotine patches in pregnant smokers: randomised, placebo controlled, multicentre trial of efficacy. BMJ, 348, g1622.

Coleman, T., Cooper, S., Thornton, J.G., Grainge, M.J., Watts, K., Britton, J., & Lewis, S. (2012). A randomized trial of nicotine-replacement therapy patches in pregnancy. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 67(7), 387-388.

El-Mohandes, A.A., Windsor, R., Tan, S., Perry, D.C., Gantz, M.G., & Kiely, M. (2013). A randomized clinical trial of transdermal nicotine replacement in pregnant African-American smokers. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 17(5), 897-906.

Oncken, C., Dornelas, E., Greene, J., Sankey, H., Glasmann, A., Feinn, R., & Kranzler, H.R. (2008). Nicotine gum for pregnant smokers: a randomized controlled trial. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 112(4), 859-67.

Pollak, K.I., Oncken, C.A., Lipkus, I.M., Lyna, P., Swamy, G.K., Pletsch, P.K., . . . Myers, E.R. (2007). Nicotine replacement and behavioral therapy for smoking cessation in pregnancy. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33(4), 297-305.