The evidence on the extent to which stakeholders in different European countries agree with availability and importance of tobacco-control interventions is limited. This study assessed and compared stakeholders' views from five European countries and compared the perceived ranking of interventions with evidence-based ranking using cost-effectiveness data.
An interview survey (face-to-face, by phone or Skype) was conducted between April and July 2014 with five categories of stakeholders - decision makers, service purchasers, service providers, evidence generators and health promotion advocates - from Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. A list of potential stakeholders drawn from the research team's contacts and snowballing served as the sampling frame. An email invitation was sent to all stakeholders in this list and recruitment was based on positive replies. Respondents were asked to rate availability and importance of 30 tobacco control interventions. Kappa coefficients assessed agreement of stakeholders' views. A mean importance score for each intervention was used to rank the interventions. This ranking was compared with the ranking based on cost-effectiveness data from a published review.
Ninety-three stakeholders (55.7% response rate) completed the survey: 18.3% were from Germany, 17.2% from Hungary, 30.1% from the Netherlands, 19.4% from Spain, and 15.1% from the UK. Of those, 31.2% were decision makers, 26.9% evidence generators, 19.4% service providers, 15.1% health-promotion advocates, and 7.5% purchasers of services/pharmaceutical products. Smoking restrictions in public areas were rated as the most important intervention (mean score = 1.89). The agreement on availability of interventions between the stakeholders was very low (kappa = 0.098; 95% CI = [0.085, 0.111] but the agreement on the importance of the interventions was fair (kappa = 0.239; 95% CI = [0.208, 0.253]). A correlation was found between availability and importance rankings for stage-based interventions. The importance ranking was not statistically concordant with the ranking based on published cost-effectiveness data (Kendall rank correlation coefficient = 0.40; p-value = 0.11; 95% CI = [- 0.09, 0.89]).
The intrinsic differences in stakeholder views must be addressed while transferring economic evidence Europe-wide. Strong engagement with stakeholders, focussing on better communication, has a potential to mitigate this challenge.