ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Two new studies found that the health care cost of smoking is higher than previously thought and that a governmental program has been cost-effective in getting smokers to quit.
The first study showed that smoking costs our nation about $170 billion a year in health care spending, more than the estimated cost in a report put out by the Surgeon General in the beginning of the year.
The findings show that more than 60 percent of these costs are paid by the taxpayers through programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
The researchers were also able to show that smoking imposes a cost on all taxpayers and reducing tobacco use is a critical part of bringing down health care spending in the U.S.
The second study showed that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign helped 100,000 smokers quit.
These studies showed that investing in programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit is a fiscally responsible thing to do.
The researchers found that Tips, which is the first federally-funded national media campaign to reduce tobacco use, has been highly effective.
Tobacco use leads to disease and disability and is the leading preventable cause of death, according to the CDC.
The studies were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.