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Tobacco control cost-saving study dubbed 'outstanding'

Smoking cigarette

Work to cash up potential health savings from stop smoking schemes has won a major European award.

EQUIPT, (European-study on Quantifying Utility of Investment in Protection from Tobacco) aims to calculate the costs and benefits of tobacco control across Europe.

The €2 million Brunel-led project has pocketed an Outstanding European Health Research Award from the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention.

EQUIPT will offer health providers and policy makers across Europe tailor-made figures on how much they can save from investing in tobacco control such as stop smoking schemes.

“In terms of saving lives through less smoking related diseases, this is very far reaching,” said study leader Dr Subhash Pokhrel. “It can also avoid different countries spending money on similar research.”

Big regional differences across Europe mean one size doesn’t fit all, when it comes to smoking statistics. Evidence strongly suggests hard-hitting, joined-up tobacco control programmes are the best way to stop people starting smoking and get more to stop. But regional European health providers and policy makers don’t have the tailored data to financially justify such prevention programmes.

EQUIPT uses comparative analysis to show European health providers how they can translate figures from similar English regions to predict tobacco control benefits locally.

Above helping regional health providers calculate value for money, “it should give us enough information to see if harmonising efforts on tobacco controls across Europe could be cost effective,” said Dr Pokhrel.

Led by Brunel’s Health Economics Research Group (HERG), EQUIPT is a partnership between Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.