Study Finds Anti-Tobacco Initiative Saved California $134B in Health Costs
California's tobacco prevention program saved $134 billion in health care costs over a 20-year period, according to a study published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports.
From 1989 through 2008, California spent about $2.4 billion on a comprehensive anti-tobacco initiative.
The initiative sought to:
- Strengthen tobacco cessation programs;
- Promote anti-tobacco messages through television and billboard advertisements; and
- Market smoke-free bars and restaurants.
The study found that for each dollar spent on the anti-tobacco initiative, health care costs in the state decreased by about $56.
Researchers attributed the drop in health care spending to residents quitting smoking or not starting to smoke. Individuals who continued smoking consumed fewer cigarettes per dayÂ during the initiative, according to researchers.
Stanton Glantz -- co-author of the study and director of UC-San Francisco's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education -- said, "The California program has shifted people to being much, much lighter smokers." He added, "Reducing smoking reduces cancer, heart attacks, asthma attacks and a whole range of diseases, and what we found is those changes are reflected quickly in terms of health care costs."
Tim McAfee -- director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health -- said, "This study reinforces that in the grand scheme of things, extremely modest expenditures that states, the federal government and municipalities have made to address tobacco are remarkable bargains."According to CDC, California's smoking rate decreased from about 23% in 1988 to 12.1% in 2010, one of the lowest rates in the U.S. (Burke, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 2/13). 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.