After Tobacco

Sarah Kliff has a post on a new book After Tobacco: What Would Happen if Americans Stopped Smoking (by Peter Bearman, Kathryn Neckerman and Leslie Wright; Coumbia Univ. Press, 2011). I haven’t read the book but will try and get to it soon. Kliff highlights a few of the outcomes in a post-Tobacco world that may seem counterintuitive to some:

The economic effect on public programs, however, would be more of a mixed bag. States’ Medicaid costs would noticeably decrease: lower-income populations have higher rates of smoking and the negative health outcomes that follow. But states would also lose revenue from cigarette excise taxes, which amounted to $13.75 billion in 2006. If Americans stopped smoking altogether, states could see a 1.4 percent decrease in revenue, according to a chapter from Hunter College’s Howard Chernick.

A similar, spilt-effect would be true for Social Security. With Americans living longer, Social Security would bear the increased cost of supporting people for a longer time. But those costs are slightly offset from an increase in healthy workers, who “tend to earn more and retire later,” leading to higher contributions. On balance, “After Tobacco” estimates the end of smoking means a slight, 1.58 percent increase in Social Security outlays.

We found similar cross subsidies in The Price of Smoking that I have blogged about. I will be most interested in the methods they used and hope to blog about them in the next few weeks.


About Don Taylor
Professor of Public Policy (with appointments in Business, Nursing, Community and Family Medicine, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute), and Chair of the Academic Council at Duke University . I am one of the founding faculty of the Margolis Center for Health Policy. My research focuses on improving care for persons who are dying, and I am co-PI of a CMMI award in Community Based Palliative Care. I teach both undergrads and grad students at Duke. On twitter @donaldhtaylorjr

2 Responses to After Tobacco

  1. Floccina says:

    I used to be confident that smoking was in permanent decline but having seen tattoos come back big I am no longer so confident.

    • Don Taylor says:

      rate of decrease certainly flattened after early 1990s. However, U.S. has second lowest prevalence in world I believe, after Canada

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: