Anti-Smoking, Cessation Programs Could Cut States’ Medicaid Costs by $550M, Study Finds
Increasing spending on anti-tobacco and smoking cessation programs is a "good investmen[t]" that can decrease states' Medicaid spending by over half a billion dollars per year, according to a study released yesterday. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the study, conducted by the American Legacy Foundation, found that a 25% reduction in smoking rates would reduce smoking-related costs for state Medicaid programs by over $550 million per year, and that a 5% reduction in smoking rates would reduce smoking-related state Medicaid costs by $110 million per year (Lockwood, Lexington Herald-Leader, 3/28). The study also found that smoking-related Medicaid costs for states and the federal government have increased from $12.9 billion in 1993 to $27.2 billion in 2001, a trend that has contributed to the budget deficits that many states face (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids release, 3/27). "[S]pending a dollar today to reduce smoking could save ... state[s] as much as $3 down the road, and countless lives," Legacy CEO Cheryl Healton said (Associated Press, 3/28).
"If states don't go down this road [of increasing spending on anti-tobacco programs], they are ... a penny wise and a pound foolish. The savings in money are huge and there are a lot of people who would live a long, healthy life by not starting to smoke," Joel Spivak, a spokesperson for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said (Torry, Columbus Dispatch, 3/28). Mark Smith, a spokesperson for tobacco company Brown & Williamson, said that states should not raise taxes on cigarettes to cover the cost of new anti-smoking programs. "Smokers already pay more than their fair share and we're not a burden to society," he said (Lexington Herald-Leader, 3/28). The study is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the study.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.