(HealthDay News) — Tobacco counseling for youth or adults can reduce the prevalence of smoking cigarettes during adult years, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Michael V. Maciosek, Ph.D., from the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, and colleagues conducted a microsimulation analysis to estimate the health impact and cost-effectiveness of tobacco counseling of youth and adults in a U.S. birth cohort of 4,000,000.

The researchers found that the model predicted that annual counseling for youth would reduce the average prevalence of smoking cigarettes by 2.0 percent during adult years, whereas annual counseling for adults would reduce prevalence by 3.8 percent, compared with no tobacco counseling. Over the lifetime of the cohort, youth counseling would prevent 42,686 smoking-attributable fatalities and increase quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) by 756,601; 69,901 smoking-attributable fatalities would be prevented by adult counseling, and QALYs would be increased by 1,044,392. Per person, youth and adult counseling would yield net savings of $225 and $580, respectively. Adult smoking prevalence would be 5.5 percent lower if annual tobacco counseling was provided to the cohort during both youth and adult years, compared with no counseling, with 105,917 fewer smoking-attributable fatalities over their lifetime. At current counseling rates, only one-third of the potential health and economic benefits of counseling are being realized.

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“Both youth and adult intervention are high-priority uses of limited clinician time,” the authors write.

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