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After Tobacco, a new book by economic researchers Peter Bearman, Kathryn Neckerman and Leslie Wright, tries to put together what would happen if the 46 million Americans who smoke all decided to quit cold turkey.Obviously cigarettes are huge industry in the U.S., so a total collapse of domestic demand would have serious effect on our economy. And then there’s how it would impact public health, of course.
Here’s a quick run down of what the book says would happen via The Washington Post:
- If everyone stopped smoking in 2006, 2.8 million premature deaths would be avoided between then and 2025. During the same time, healthcare spending would decrease by $211 billion– but that’s only 1.25%.
- States would have decreased Medicaid costs, but would also lose the revenue they get from cigarette excise taxes, that was $13.75 billion in 2006, an overall of 1.4%.
- The end of cigarettes would lead to a small increase in social security as well (about 1.58%, the book estimates) as workers would be living longer, but retiring later.
- And then there’s philanthropy. Tobacco manufacturers gave $143 billion away between 1997 and 2005– 42% of which went to public health and community development programs. That money would probably disappear. Nationally, though, that’s only about 3% of corporate giving.
BONUS: This isn’t in the book, but according to a paper by the NBER, Americans will get fatter if they stop smoking as well.
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