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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Study: Smoking Cessation Saves Lives -- and Money

Published September 15, 2010 1:48 PM by Mike Bederka
We all know helping smokers to quit saves lives, but new research provides hard evidence that states can reap favorable economic benefits by getting people to kick the habit. Released this week, the American Lung Association study provides a nationwide cost-benefit analysis that compares the costs to society of smoking with the economic benefits of states providing cessation coverage.

Smoking Cessation: The Economic Benefits, conducted by researchers at Penn State University, found 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 a whopping $18.05.

In addition to identifying the staggering costs of smoking to the U.S. economy, this study provides state governments with reasons to help smokers quit. If states invested in comprehensive smoking cessation benefits, each would receive, on average, a 26 percent return on investment. 

ROI varies from state to state. How much would your state save?

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