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Primary care- based smoking cessation treatment and subsequent healthcare service utilisation: a matched cohort study of smokers using linked administrative healthcare data

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  • Dolly Baliunas
  • Peter Selby
  • Claire de Oliveira
  • Paul Kurdyak
  • Laura Rosella
  • Laurie Zawertailo
  • Longdi Fu
  • Rinku Sutradhar


Publication details

JournalTobacco Control
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Apr 2021
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 3 Jun 2021
Number of pages32
Early online date3/06/21
Original languageEnglish


No research has assessed the individual- level impact of smoking cessation treatment delivered within a general primary care patient population on multiple forms of subsequent healthcare service use.
We aimed to compare the rate of outpatient visits, emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalisations during a 5- year follow- up period among smokers who had and had not accessed a smoking cessation treatment programme.
The study was a retrospective matched cohort study using linked demographic and administrative healthcare databases in Ontario, Canada. 9951 patients who accessed smoking cessation services between July 2011 and December 2012 were matched to a smoker who did not access services, obtained from the Canadian Community
Health Survey, using a combination of hard matching and propensity score matching. Outcomes were rates
of healthcare service use from index date (programme enrolment or survey response) to March 2017.
After controlling for potential confounders, patients in the overall treatment cohort had modestly greater rates of the outcomes: outpatient visits (rate ratio (RR) 1.10, 95% CI: 1.06 to 1.14), ED visits (RR 1.08, 95% CI: 1.03 to 1.13) and hospitalisations (RR 1.09, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.18). Effect modification of the association between smoking cessation treatment and healthcare service use by prevalent comorbidity was found for outpatient visits (p=0.006), and hospitalisations (p=0.050), but not ED visits.
Patients who enrolled in smoking cessation treatment offered through primary care clinics in Ontario displayed a modest but significantly greater rate of outpatient visits, ED visits and hospitalisations over a 5- year follow- up period.

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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021.

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