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 California Healthline, Monday, October 20, 2014

Smoking-related illnesses have accounted for more deaths and health care costs in California than AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and several other health conditions, according to a new study by UC-San Francisco’s Institute for Health and Aging and School of Nursing, the San Francisco Examinerreports.

Details of Study

The study is part of series of reports on the costs associated with smoking. The reports are published every 10 years.

The new study was conducted over a three-year period and examined tobacco use between 1999 and 2009 (Dudnick, San Francisco Examiner, 10/15).

Smoking-Related Deaths

The study found that about 12% of California residents smoke daily, and smoking accounts for more than one in seven deaths in the state, according to San Francisco Weekly‘s “The Snitch.”

Specifically, smoking accounted for 34,363 deaths during the period examined, including deaths related to cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and pediatric disease.

The number of smoking-related deaths was:

  • 17 times higher than the number of deaths related to AIDS;
  • Five times more than the number of deaths related to diabetes; and
  • Three times more than the number of deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease (Sherbert, “The Snitch,” San Francisco Weekly, 10/16).

Health Care Costs

The study also found that the cost of smoking in California — including smoking-related illnesses, deaths and health care expenditures — was $18.1 billion in 2009, compared with $15.8 billion in 1999.

However, that marked a 22% decrease when adjusted for inflation, according to the study (San Francisco Examiner, 10/15).

The study found that cost of smoking for men was higher than for women, at $11.7 billion and $6.4 billion, respectively.

Effect of Tobacco Control Efforts

Overall, the researchers found that tobacco control efforts in California have helped reduce the:

  • Cost of smoking;
  • Prevalence of smoking; and
  • Number of smoking-related deaths.

However, the numbers are still high and suggest that specific geographic areas in the state could benefit from targeted smoking cessation efforts, according to a UCSF release (UCSF release, 10/15).

Source: California Healthline, Monday, October 20, 2014

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