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Annual Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking

An Update
Published:December 09, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.10.012

      Background

      Fifty years after the first Surgeon General’s report, tobacco use remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and disease, despite declines in adult cigarette smoking prevalence. Smoking-attributable healthcare spending is an important part of overall smoking-attributable costs in the U.S.

      Purpose

      To update annual smoking-attributable healthcare spending in the U.S. and provide smoking-attributable healthcare spending estimates by payer (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance) or type of medical services.

      Methods

      Analyses used data from the 2006–2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey linked to the 2004–2009 National Health Interview Survey. Estimates from two-part models were combined to predict the share of annual healthcare spending that could be attributable to cigarette smoking. The analysis was conducted in 2013.

      Results

      By 2010, 8.7% (95% CI=6.8%, 11.2%) of annual healthcare spending in the U.S. could be attributed to cigarette smoking, amounting to as much as $170 billion per year. More than 60% of the attributable spending was paid by public programs, including Medicare, other federally sponsored programs, or Medicaid.

      Conclusions

      These findings indicate that comprehensive tobacco control programs and policies are still needed to continue progress toward ending the tobacco epidemic in the U.S. 50 years after the release of the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health.
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