Despite the availability of many cost-effective interventions to tackle tobacco use, EU decision-makers and beyond still lack the justification on financial and wider returns that their tobacco control agendas could produce. To address this issue, the EU-funded EQUIPT (European-study on quantifying utility of investment in protection from tobacco) project set out to provide European stakeholders with a decision-support tool to estimate the return on investment (ROI) from investing in tobacco cessation interventions. Project partners used as a basis an existing ROI tool developed in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2012 to help decision-making in tobacco control. It supports commissioners and policymakers at local authorities and the National Health Service in their investment decisions. They ultimately transferred the UK ROI model to Germany, Spain, Hungary and the Netherlands. A literature review, analysis and interviews with 93 stakeholders from the four countries identified the needs of local policymakers for including economic evidence in their decision-making. These actions also demonstrated how the ROI concepts and tools can assist with this. Building on the findings, the EQUIPT team adapted the UK ROI tool to reflect the needs of decision-makers in each sample country. To evaluate policy proposals, it organised two stakeholder workshops with accompanying surveys, and analysed the ROI of current and prospective tobacco control scenarios across the sample countries and the UK. The final tool and related dissemination and support materials were made freely available via the project website. It offers evidence-based alternative policies for relevant stakeholders to consider and implement in order to address the scourge of tobacco. The ROI model also addresses how current practices could be improved to provide even better value for money. EQUIPT proposed an innovative decision-support tool that extols the benefits of investing in evidence-based tobacco control in Europe. This model-based economic evaluation in smoking cessation should ultimately reduce smoking initiation, prevalence and intensity.
Tobacco, evidence-based tobacco control, EQUIPT, return on investment