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Tobacco exacts heavy toll on Californians, with most prominent effect on men

October 22, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Despite a decline in the prevalence and volume of smoking among Californians, tobacco use still cost the state $487 per resident ($4,603 per smoker) and was responsible for one in seven deaths, according to the latest data compiled by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). The data are from 2009 and are compared with statistics from 1999.

“We found that while the California tobacco control program has led to reductions in tobacco use in the state over the last decade, smoking is still far too pervasive and results in far too many deaths and high healthcare costs,” said principal investigator Wendy Max, PhD, professor of health economics at the UCSF School of Nursing.

In the aggregate, smoking in the state resulted in $6.8 billion in lost productivity and about 17.1 years of life lost for each death related to smoking in the state, according to the report.

Smoking was more common among adult men than adult women, and also more prevalent among adolescent boys than adolescent girls. The overall cost of smoking was $11.7 billion for men and $6.4 billion for women. Most adult smokers were classified as light smokers who generally use fewer than 10 cigarettes a day.

Deaths caused by smoking were three times higher than deaths from Alzheimer's disease and unintentional injuries; five times higher than deaths from diabetes, influenza and pneumonia; and 17 times higher then deaths from AIDS.

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