Report highlights financial impact of smoking

2013-04-10T23:20:00Z 2013-04-12T13:36:06Z Report highlights financial impact of smokingVanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

A new study from Ball State University shows more than half of Hoosier smokers tried to quit in the past year.

Had they been successful, it could have saved billions of dollars in health care costs, according to the Burden of Smoking Among Adults in Indiana, a report issued by the Ball State Global Health Institute.

The study breaks down the national and state smoking statistics and the financial impact of smoking.

Michael Meska, Franciscan Alliance regional director of respiratory therapy, said there is misinformation that smoking is a habit, rather than an addiction.

"Smoking is perhaps a choice at first, but often leads to a nicotine addiction," he said.

Nationally, cigarette smoking led to $96 billion in health care expenditures and $97 billion in lost productivity, according to the study. 

Each pack of cigarettes translates into $35 in health-related costs for the smoker, the report states, citing American Cancer Study findings.

In Indiana, 1.25 million people smoke, which is 25.6 percent of the adult population. It's the seventh-highest rate in the country. Hoosiers with lower incomes and lower education are more likely to smoke, the study shows.

It is important to never begin smoking in the first place.

"There is no safe cigarette," Meska said.

The Ball State study also shows 57.5 percent of current smokers tried quitting in the past 12 months. A "quit attempt" is defined as when a smoker stops smoking for one day or longer in an attempt to quit.

Meska said many smokers may try quitting without assistance from a health care provider. 

"Stop smoking rates are increased with those seeking professional help," he said.

Meska said that, within a month of quitting smoking, people will save money and notice an improved taste in their food. At the six-month mark, there is a decreased risk of infection because the cilia in the lungs work better.

"These help clean the air and move debris out of your lungs," he said.

Long-term benefits include a reduced chance of stroke, coronary artery disease and COPD, he said.

"Lung cancer rates are one half of those that continue to smoke, 10 years after stopping," Meska said.

The full report can be found at http://cms.bsu.edu/-/media/WWW/DepartmentalContent/GlobalHealth/PDF/040413v2BurdenofSmokingIN2012.pdf.

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