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Smokers Cost Medicaid System Nearly $10 Billion
Date:11/28/2007

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The study went on to examine how much Medicaid programs would save over the course of young smokers' lives if they never smoked. If states could prevent all smoking among current 24-year-olds, Medicaid savings over their lifetimes would be between $1.4 million (in Alaska and Vermont) and $125 million (in Texas).

Another of the report's findings highlights a significant difference in the net cost of smoking for men versus women. Over the lifetime of a male smoker, the net cost of smoking to Medicaid is $6, but for women -- who make up 69 percent of Medicaid recipients - the cost is $1,372.

"This study underscores the need for strong and effective smoking prevention and cessation campaigns," said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. PH, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. "We hope that this report will serve as a tool for states to use when setting both long and short-term goals for reducing Medicaid expenditures associated with tobacco use."

"Reducing the number of smokers in the United States could save taxpayers billions of dollars in Medicaid costs," said Justin Trogdon, Ph.D., a health economist at RTI International and author of the report. "Policymakers looking for ways to reduce health care costs in America would be wise to look at areas of health behaviors that both improve health and reduce health care costs."

Smoking remains the country's leading preventable cause of death. New data released earlier this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that smoking rates are no longer on the decline with 45.3 million adults reporting smoking in 2006. Adult smoking rates in the U.S. have stalled for a second year in a row, after a 7-year smoking decline.

The CDC reported that 20.8 percent of adults in the U.S. (45.3 million) were current cigarette smokers in 2006 and of these adults, 80.1 percent (36.3 million) smoked every day. Most smokers in America - 70 percent - say the
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SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
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