An economic evaluation of an online computer-tailored smoking cessation intervention that includes message frame-tailoring: A randomized controlled trial

Maria B Altendorf*, Julia C M van Weert, Ciska Hoving, Eline S Smit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Evidence of economic evaluations of behaviour change interventions is scarce, but needed to guide policy makers' decision-making. This study economically evaluated 4 versions of an innovative online computer-tailored smoking cessation intervention. The economic evaluation from a societal perspective was embedded in a randomized controlled trial among 532 smokers using a 2 (message frame-tailoring, i.e. how messages are presented: autonomy-supportive vs controlling) x 2 (content-tailoring, i.e. what content is presented: tailored vs. generic) design. Both kinds of tailoring, content-tailoring and message frame-tailoring, were based on a set of questions asked at baseline. Self-reported costs, prolonged smoking abstinence (cost-effectiveness) and quality of life (cost-utility) were assessed during a 6-month-follow-up. For cost-effectiveness analysis, costs per abstinent smoker were calculated. For cost-utility analysis, costs per QALY (i.e. quality-adjusted life year) gained were calculated. A willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold of €20.000 was used. Bootstrapping and sensitivity analysis were conducted. Cost-effectiveness analysis showed that up to a WTP of €2.000, the combination of message frame- and content-tailoring dominated all study groups. From a WTP of €2.005, the content-tailored group dominated all study groups. Cost-utility analysis revealed that the combination of message frame-tailoring and content-tailoring had the highest probability of being the most efficient study group at all levels of the WTP. The combination of message frame-tailoring and content-tailoring in online smoking cessation programmes seemed to have high potential for cost-effectiveness (smoking abstinence) and cost-utility (quality of life), thus providing good value for money. Yet, when the WTP for each abstinent smoker is high (i.e., €2.005 or higher), the addition of message frame-tailoring might not be worth the effort and content-tailoring only is preferred.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0000094
Number of pages14
JournalPLOS Digital Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

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