Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

California Tobacco Control Program Saved Billions In Medical Costs

Date:
August 26, 2008
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
California's state tobacco control program saved $86 billion -- in 2004 dollars -- in personal healthcare costs in its first 15 years, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

California's state tobacco control program saved $86 billion -- in 2004 dollars -- in personal healthcare costs in its first 15 years, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

During the same period, the state spent only a total of $1.8 billion on the program, a 50-to-1 return on investment, according to study findings. The study is the first that has been able to quantifiably connect tobacco control to healthcare savings, say its authors.

The healthcare savings occurred because the program prevented 3.6 billion packs of cigarettes--worth $9.2 billion to the tobacco industry--from being smoked between 1989, when the state-funded California Tobacco Control Program began, and 2004, when this study ended.

Findings are published in the Aug. 25, 2008 online issue of the journal PLoS Medicine.

"The benefits of the program accrued very quickly and are very large," says Stanton Glantz, PhD, senior author on the paper and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. Glantz, a UCSF professor of medicine, says the reason that the California program had such large and rapid benefits in terms of health care costs was the fact that it is directed at adults, not youth. "When adults stop smoking, you see immediate benefits in heart disease, with impacts on cancer and lung diseases starting to appear a year or two later."

The study found evidence of health cost reductions in the first year after the start of the California program, which focused on adults and social norm change, rather than the more common approach of focusing on adolescent use prevention.

These cost savings also occurred despite a substantial diversion of funding during the mid-1990s and the fact that inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the five-cent per pack cigarette tax that funds the program. The researchers estimate that if the funding had been maintained at the same level of intensity as in the program's early years ($4.76 per capita, about $80 million per year), total health care cost savings over 15 years would have increased from $86 billion to $156 billion.

Large state tobacco control programs have previously been shown to reduce smoking, heart attacks and cancer, Glantz says, but this is the first time researchers have been able to quantify the effects on health costs. He says the breakthrough came by teaming up with James Lightwood, PhD, assistant adjunct professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy who specializes in mathematical modeling, health economics, and statistics. Lightwood used methods known as "co-integrating regressions," which were developed to analyze financial markets, to account for the changing nature of the determinants of smoking behavior, medical technology and costs.

Using the approach of co-integrating regressions, the researchers modeled the relationship between per capita tobacco control expenditures, per capita cigarette consumption and health care expenditures across the study time frame. They compared those results in California to 38 control states that did not have comprehensive tobacco control programs before 2000.

"We confirmed these results with a wide range of model reliability tests and sensitivity analyses to make sure that the findings we found were not a result of some unobserved third factor," says Lightwood. "For example, including differences between California and the control states on a variety of risk factors did not materially affect the results."

The risk factors included being overweight or obese, hypertension, binge drinking, no regular exercise, demographic factors, cost structure of health care inputs, active physicians per capita, hospital beds per capita, proportion of population receiving Medicaid services, and economic activity.

"The methods in this study can be used to forecast future costs, and will provide important additional means for validating program evaluations that previously did not exist," Lightwood adds.

The study results show that tobacco control programs not only reduce smoking and prevent disease, but also quickly and substantially reduce health care costs, according to Glantz, who also notes that the savings grew over time, reaching 7.3 percent of total health care costs after 15 years. "Large scale tobacco control programs should be an integral part of the medical cost containment that everyone agrees must be part of any health care reform," he emphasizes.

The paper was co-authored by Alexis Dinno, ScD, a postdoctoral fellow in the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

The work was supported in part by grants from the National Cancer Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James M. Lightwood, Alexis Dinno, Stanton A. Glantz. Effect of the California Tobacco Control Program on Personal Health Care Expenditures. PLoS Medicine, 2008; 5 (8): e178 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050178

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "California Tobacco Control Program Saved Billions In Medical Costs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825203926.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2008, August 26). California Tobacco Control Program Saved Billions In Medical Costs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825203926.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "California Tobacco Control Program Saved Billions In Medical Costs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825203926.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins