Estimates Cost of Smoking
ATLANTA - Each pack of cigarettes sold in the United States costs
the nation $7 in medical care and lost productivity, the government
The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put
the nation's total cost of smoking at $3,391 a year for every
smoker, or $157.7 billion. Health experts had previously estimated
Americans buy about 22 billion packs of cigarettes annually.
The CDC study is the first to establish a per-pack cost to the
The agency estimated the nation's smoking-related medical costs
at $3.45 per pack, and said job productivity lost because
of premature death from smoking amounted to $3.73 per pack,
for a total of $7.18.
The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in 1999 was $2.92.
"There's a big difference in the cost to society and what society
is getting back in tax," said the CDC's Dr. Terry Pechacek. "We
believe society is bearing a burden for the individual behavioral
choices of the smokers."
The CDC said it analyzed expenses, both personal and for the
health care industry, and used national medical surveys to calculate
the costs to the nation.
The agency also reported that smoking results in about 440,000
deaths a year in the United States, up from the government's previous
figure of 430,000, established in the early 1990s. The new study
was conducted from 1995 to 1999.
"The fact that nearly half a million Americans lose their lives
each year because of smoking-related illnesses is a significant
public health tragedy," said Dr. David Fleming, the CDC's acting
A spokesman for tobacco giant Brown & Williamson objected
that the study presents the figures in a vacuum, without comparing
smoking to the financial burdens other people nonsmokers
with diabetes, for example place on society.
"What does that number mean?" spokesman Mark Smith said. "It
doesn't mean anything. It's bordering on meaningless."
Representatives from the nation's two other leading tobacco
companies Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds did not
immediately return calls for comment.
Among other findings:
_ Smoking causes an average man to lose more than 13 years of
life, and an average woman to lose 14.5 years.
_ Smoking during pregnancy causes about 1,000 infant deaths
_ Lung cancer causes the most deaths among smokers, following
by heart disease and lung disease.
_ Men account for about 60 percent of smoking deaths
264,000 a year, compared with 178,000 deaths among women.
On the Net:
CDC tobacco site: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco
Reference Source 102