STUDY OBJECTIVE--This study aims to apply economic principles and techniques in evaluating a health promotion programme. DESIGN--This study is an economic appraisal of the Heartbeat Wales no smoking intervention programme. The costs incurred over the four year period 1985-89 have been identified and estimates have been made of the likely future impact of the reduced smoking prevalence within Wales in terms of reduced morbidity and displaced mortality in three disease groups--coronary heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic bronchitis. SETTING--Wales, UK. RESULTS--The net present value of benefits is considerably greater than costs in terms of both the NHS and the economy as a whole in Wales. In addition, the net costs per life year saved shows that the programme generates additional working life years at relatively low cost. Because not all the benefits can be fully attributed to the programme 'impact rates' ranging from 100 to 10% have been applied to the level of benefits. The evidence suggests that even if only 10% of the benefits could be attributed to the programme there is still a positive net present value of benefits. The relative efficiency of this programme has not been considered here. CONCLUSION--Large scale benefits to the NHS and the economy as a whole can be derived from reductions in smoking.
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