Abstract for: A System Dynamics approach for assessing health effect impact as a result of launching a new nicotine product in a market
In 2012 the FDA suggested using mathematical models as tools for assessing the impact, in terms of population health outcomes, of releasing new nicotine products. We used a System Dynamics approach for model development. A status quo scenario, where the new product does not exist, is compared to the counterfactual scenario in which the new product has been introduced. Normality of smoking was studied through feedback mechanisms. Model functionalities were illustrated using e-cigarettes as the alternative product, all-cause mortality as the health outcome, and the UK as the population. Data sources and model assumptions were presented to highlight data scarcity and inconsistencies between different public data sources. Results from sensitivity analysis revealed tipping points for benefit/burden depending on the value of different parameters and the relative importance of parameters to influence the final outcome. Introduction of assumptions was required due to the difficulty finding appropriate data sources to inform the model. Data requirements for this type of modelling would benefit from the inclusion and public release of relevant measurements on nicotine products in nationwide studies. Our model suggests that System Dynamics could be useful to assess the potential health effects of nicotine products when epidemiological data are not available.