Smoking costs workers and unions more than just the price of a pack of cigarettes. A new report estimates that each pack of cigarettes costs the country an additional $7.18. The drain on productivity accounts for $3.45 while health care costs were $3.73 of the total. The yearly cost is $3,400 per smoker.
The Centers for Disease Control study calculated productivity costs as lost wages and shortened careers but not time-off for smoke breaks and tobacco-related illness. Even though smoking rates have declined in recent years, medical costs related to smoking have risen. Health and Welfare Funds are well aware of the rising cost of health care and doctors are still treating lingering diseases in current and former smokers. Other findings in the report include:
Ø Deaths from smoking have risen to 440,000 per year.
Ø Men account for 60 percent of smoking deaths.
Ø Smoking causes the average male smoker to lose more than 13 years of life while the average female smoker will lose 14.5 years.
A spokesman for Phillip Morris stated his company acknowledges that smoking is dangerous. "We make a product that does cause disease, and we agree that there is no safe cigarette." The president of the American Lung Association called the loss of lives and productivity "totally preventable through proven interventions such as...comprehensive tobacco prevention programs"
Source: Centers for Disease Control, MMWR/ vol.51 / No. 14, April 12, 2002
Associated Press, April 11, 2002