01/10/12 Secondhand smoke costs Indiana residents $1.3 billion yearly in health care and premature loss of life, according to a new study released today by researchers from the Bowen Research Center of the Indiana University School of Medicine. Based on deaths in 2008, the economic impact is nearly three times as much as the prior report based on 2007 deaths ($390.3 million).
The study measured the costs of secondhand smoke‐related morbidity and mortality to residents of Indiana, and found that Hoosiers were estimated to pay $327.1 million in direct health care costs caused by secondhand smoke each year, and to suffer $977.5 million in premature loss of life costs annually because of secondhand smoke, for a total cost of $1.3 billion yearly. This amount breaks down to an annual cost of $201 per Hoosier due to secondhand smoke.
Lead study author, Terrell Zollinger, Dr.P.H., M.S.P.H., Associate Director of the Bowen Research Center, said, “We’ve known for years the devastating role that secondhand smoke plays in the health of nonsmokers, but with the constantly rising costs of healthcare, we’re finding that secondhand smoke also has a huge economic impact to the tune of well over $1 billion every year.
“Hoosier taxpayers take on the burden of those costs in the form of increased premiums for health and life insurance, increased taxes to provide care through government programs, and increased costs of goods and services.”
The U.S. Surgeon General issued a report on the health consequences of secondhand smoke in 2006, following up to the landmark report of 1986, which found secondhand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory illness and many other chronic and acute diseases. Secondhand smoke causes approximately 50,000 deaths each year in the U.S. More than 1,400 of those deaths are in Indiana.