When smoking drops, health care prices plummet the next year. A new national analysis by UC San Francisco of health care expenditures associated with smoking estimates that a 10% decline in smoking in the U.S.A would be followed a year later by an estimated $63 billion decrease in total national health care prices.
The study examined the year-to-year relationship between changes in smoking and changes in medical prices for the entire country, taking into account differences between states as well as historical trends in smoking behavior, economic conditions, demographics, and health care expenditures.
The research offers strong evidence that decreasing the prevalence of smoking and cigarette consumption per smoker is followed rapidly by lower health care expenditures – and the savings continue to grow in the short run.
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Decreasing smoking in the state of California and Arizona has already been indicated to be associated with reduced per capita health care expenditures. The latest study extends that analysis to entire fifty states and the District of Columbia for 1992 through 2009.
The estimates depict all the health care expenditures linked with smoking that arise in a population over both the short- and long-term, including indirect impacts on smokers, as well as effects of second- and third-hand smoking exposure in non-smokers.
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