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Is Cigarette Smoking Costing Americans That Don’t Even Smoke?

Kimberly Love

Cigarette smoking certainly divides a country at times; you have your smokers and those entirely against the habit. Decades ago it was incredibly common to smoke around children, on airplanes, and even in hospitals; but such has not been the case for quite some time. Even after making the public aware of the medical effects of smoking some forty years down the road, there are still roughly eighteen percent of adults that continue to light up. Even still, how can someone else smoking financially impact those that don’t?

According to a recent financial study performed by Dr. Xin Xu, who is a Senior Economist of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; smoking results in ninety cents of every ten dollars furnished on American healthcare. Currently, the United States operates an annual healthcare spending total of $170 billion. Of those billions, 8.7% is utilized for programs resulting from smoking. Those would include medical ailments directly caused by smoking that are fully funded by Medicaid and/or Medicare.

Dr. Xin had some very relevant thoughts as a result of the studies reporting  that the sole use of tobacco is the country’s top cause of deaths that is totally preventable even well after the public has been warned of the dangers. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has an endless supply of black and white statistics on the matter readily available for anyone to review, additionally advising that one in every five deceased Americans is due to cigarette smoking.

To dive a tad further into the financial data on the topic, here are a few telling numbers:

  • 40,000 adults were utilized as contributors to the study performed by Xin Xu and his constituents
  • Out of that 40,000 grouping- 22,400 were nonsmokers, 9,000 were previous smokers, and 8,600 were currently active smokers {these participants were subjects for the data spent on smoking deaths, illnesses, and treatments were derived from}.
  • 8% of government finances spent on smoking came from Veteran’s Affairs/Tricare/Indian Health Services, 15.2% was from Medicaid, and 9.6% from Medicare during the years of 2006-2010.
  • These numbers spent on smoking were only resulted in cigarette smoking effects, without any contributing factors from cigar or tobacco that is chewed; making the costs in actuality much higher if those are combined.

Most are well aware that smoking results in cancer, but these reported financial expenses are not solely used on lung cancer. Smoking also effects the skin, eyes, and a slew of other cancers such as tumors that easily form inside the pancreas and bladder. The financial strain becomes a public dilemma when so many health care organizations and leading institutes are operating on public tax monies; those tax dollars are being utilized to fund continuous treatments and ongoing research to resolve smoking health ailments in suffering patients.

What can be done to help? Educate yourself and those around you on the health risks of smoking, and aim to quit as soon as possible to avoid long term illness, or even death. There are endless resources to help combat smoking in cities across the country, as well as online from support groups to hotlines operated by counselors. The sooner more smokers help themselves gain improved health by breaking the habit, the less of a financial burden it will be on governmental agencies as well as public tax dollars.

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