New study finds positive return on investment for states that invest in quit smoking treatments

September 14, 2010

Washington, DC, (September 14, 2010) -- A new study released today by the American Lung Association, and conducted by researchers at Penn State University, finds that helping smokers quit not only saves lives but also offers favorable economic benefits to states. The study, titled Smoking Cessation: the Economic Benefits, provides a nationwide cost-benefit analysis that compares the costs to society of smoking with the economic benefits of states providing cessation (quit-smoking) coverage. The study comes at an important time, as important cessation benefit provisions are being implemented at the federal and state levels as a result of healthcare reform legislation.

Each year, tobacco use kills 393,000 people in America, and this new study identifies significant and staggering costs directly attributable to death and disease caused by smoking. For example, the study finds that smoking results in costs to the U.S. economy of more than $301 billion. This includes workplace productivity losses of $67.5 billion, costs of premature death at $117 billion, and direct medical expenditures of $116 billion.

The study also calculates the combined medical and premature death costs and workplace productivity losses per pack of cigarettes. The nationwide average retail pack of cigarettes is $5.51. The costs and workplace productivity losses nationwide equal $18.05--more than 300 percent the average retail price of a cigarette pack.

"This study spells out in dollars and cents the great potential economic benefits to states of helping smokers quit. We urge the District of Columbia and all states to offer full coverage of clinically proven cessation treatments for smokers, which will not only save lives but also money," Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association.

Smoking is the number one preventable cause of illness and death in the United States and surveys show that 70 percent of tobacco users want to quit. Quitting can often take several attempts before a smoker is successful. Using evidence-based treatments increases smokers' chances of quitting - but many smokers don't have access to or don't know about what kind of treatments are available to them.

In addition to identifying the staggering costs of smoking to the U.S. economy, this new study now provides state governments with compelling economic reasons to help smokers quit. For example, the study finds that if states were to invest in comprehensive smoking cessation benefits, each would receive, on average, a 26 percent return on investment. In other words, for every dollar spent on helping smokers quit, states will see on average a return of $1.26.

Some states (and the District of Columbia) would see a higher return than others. For example, the study finds that the District of Columbia would receive the highest return on its investment. For every dollar spent on smoking cessation treatments, it would see a return of $1.94. Other states with higher than average returns include the following: Louisiana ($1.47), Massachusetts ($1.43), Maine ($1.41), Ohio ($1.41) and North Dakota ($1.41). State specific data can be found at www.lungusa.org/cessationbenefits.

The study derives these economic benefits by considering lower medical costs due to fewer people smoking, increased productivity in the workplace and reduced absenteeism and premature death due to smoking.

Some of the highest rates of smoking are found among people enrolled in Medicaid, the joint federal and state health program for low-income people. The American Lung Association urges every state to provide all Medicaid recipients and state employees with comprehensive, easily accessible tobacco cessation benefits. A comprehensive cessation benefit includes all seven medications and three types of counseling recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service for tobacco cessation. Only six states now provide comprehensive coverage for Medicaid recipients: Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

The Lung Association also recommends that private insurance plans and employers offer comprehensive cessation coverage and encourages states to require them to cover these treatments. Only seven states have such requirements now: Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon and Rhode Island.
-end-
About the Study

Researchers at Penn State University with expertise in health economics and administration performed this cost-benefit analysis using government and other published data. The analysis compares the costs of providing smoking cessation treatments (including price of medications and counseling and lost tax revenue) to the savings possible if smokers quit (including savings in health care expenditures, premature death costs, and productivity losses).

Funding for the study was provided through an unrestricted research grant from Pfizer Inc.

About the American Lung Association

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.LungUSA.org.

Porter Novelli

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.