Tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant public health problem in Canadian Inuit communities. In 2016, Canadian Inuit had an incidence rate 35 times the Canadian average. Tobacco use is an important risk factor for TB, and over 60% of Inuit adults smoke. We aimed to estimate changes in TB-related outcomes and costs from reducing tobacco use in Inuit communities.
Using a transmission model to estimate the initial prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI), followed by decision analysis modelling, we conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis that compared the current standard of care for management of TB and LTBI without additional tobacco reduction intervention (Status Quo) with (1) increased tobacco taxation, (2) pharmacotherapy and counselling for smoking cessation, (3) pharmacotherapy, counselling plus mass media campaign, and (4) the combination of all these. Projected outcomes included the following: TB cases, TB-related deaths, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and health system costs, all over 20 years.
The combined strategy was projected to reduce active TB cases by 6.1% (95% uncertainty range 4.9–7.0%) and TB deaths by 10.4% (9.5–11.4%) over 20 years, relative to the status quo. Increased taxation was the only cost-saving strategy.
Currently available strategies to reduce commercial tobacco use will likely have a modest impact on TB-related outcomes in the medium term, but some may be cost saving.