Skip to comments.Social costs of smoking are triple those of illicit drugs (Junk Science & Barf Alert)
Posted on 02/01/2003 6:58:57 PM PST by qam1
BMJ 2003;326:242 ( 1 February )
Social costs of smoking are triple those of illicit drugs
Christopher Zinn Sydney
The financial impact of tobacco and alcohol far outweigh the impact of illicit drugs, with smoking costing the community almost three times as much as any other category of drug, according to a study on the social costs of drug use in Australia.
The report, produced for the federal governments national drug strategy, estimates that tobacco accounted for 61.2% of the costs to society of drugs, or $A21bn (£7.6bn; $12.4bn; 11.5bn). For the first time the cost calculations included an estimate of the impact of passive smoking and newly available data to assess the effect on the Australian population of absenteeism, drugs, ambulances, fires, crime, and even litter.
Alcohol accounted for 22% of total costs ($A7.5bn) and illegal drugs for 17% ($A6.0bn). The calculations for the survey period, 1998-9, included both tangible and intangible costs to individuals, companies, and governments. Tangible costs included hospital care, road crashes, loss of productivity and tax revenue, and increased crime and policing. The intangible costs included pain and suffering.
The methods used in this report, the third of its kind, differed so much from the previous reports as to preclude comparisons. Long lists of conditions associated with different types of drug usesuch as hypertension (associated with alcohol), ischaemic heart disease (smoking), and low birth weight (cocaine)were compiled. The authors found it impossible to estimate the costs of the misuse of prescribed pharmaceuticals.
One of the authors, David Collins, a professor in economics at Sydneys Macquarie University, said the report had, for the first time, measured the cost of passive smoking, assessing it at A$47m. Fires resulting from cigarettes were estimated to cost A$81m.
"A lot of the impact of . . . involuntary smoking is on the unborn child and on children under 14 years. It hits the young very hard because they have no control over their lives," he told the Sydney Morning Herald (21 Jan). "Tobacco is still the greatest killer by far and imposes the greatest costs."
The report said the costs were all net costs and, consistent with previous studies, were estimated conservatively. Lower cost alternatives were selected when there was a choice.
Cannabis, opiates, stimulants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids were listed as illicit drugs.
Alcohol was found to have prevented more deaths than it caused because of the beneficial effects of moderate consumption. In the survey period 4286 people reportedly died because of alcohol but 7029 deaths were avoided.
Drug agencies said that they had been aware that tobacco and alcohol were responsible for more problems than were illicit drugs, but they added that the report would show the general public how legal drugs had much more impact.
Professor Collins said the report showed that the costs of drug use are so high that the benefits from even a small reduction in consumption could be large.
"Antitobacco programmes yield very high rates of return, and the same is true for illicit drugs," he said.
If anybody is interested the way the caluclated the cost is available in 121 page pdf file at
This is Junk Science at it's finest.
4 things stand out
They blame every condition possible on smoking.
Table B2:Causes of death and principal diagnoses identified as tobacco-related conditions
Renal parenchymal cancer
Renal pelvic cancer
Respiratory carcinoma in situ
Ischaemic heart disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Parkinson 's disease
Pulmonary circulation disease
Crohn 's disease
I would really like to know how the hell smoking causes Anal or Penile Cancer.
So basically if you die or get sick and you smoke, The smoking caused it and it cost society.
This is actually funny.
The study included in the cost to society smoking prevention and cessation programs.
So according to them they have to spend our money on governmental programs to get us to stop smoking and because they must spend this money to enlighten us they count that as a cost to society. So according to this study if they stopped all these dumb prevention programs the smokers cost to society would go down.
Of course they left out that smokers die early thus saving money in retirement programs.
Well what about all the extra taxes paid by smokers. This study went into that and this is where this study really earns it's label of Junk Science.
Right of the bat even with all the above they are forced to admit that due to taxes smokers more than make up for these so called cost to society.
"At the outset it should be conceded that,as will be seen later in this report, Tobacco tax revenue does in fact exceed by a considerable margin the tobacco-attributable costs borne by the government sector."
"Tobacco tax revenue in 1998-9 exceeded tobacco-attributable costs borne by the public sector by almost $2.8 billion.The beneficiaries of this surplus were State Governments."
But of course in true Junk Science form they spin this benefit away...
Quote from the study
"This fact is often interpreted to mean that "smokers pay their way ". However,smokers themselves bear a significant proportion of the social costs of smoking, for the reasons discussed above.It is,to a very large extent,the tobacco industry which imposes the social costs, not the smokers. The question "Do smokers pay their way?' is ,in fact, the wrong question.The correct question is " Does the tobacco industry pay its way??" This question is easily answered in the negative."
There would be other,relatively minor,effects on the revenue from such taxes as fringe benefits tax,payroll tax and company income tax. However,as explained below, the revenue from these latter types of taxes should be excluded from the analysis because they do not discriminate against the alcohol or tobacco industry in any way.All industries must bear these taxes at the same rates and they can,at least partially,be viewed as benefit taxes which finance services provided by government to industry generally. They are,accordingly,not incorporated in the budgetary analysis of this study.
Because Smokers Pay for themselves instead of the Tobacco company paying for the smokers and because other things besides cigarettes are also taxed it shouldn't be counted.
So with that wiped out and points 1 - 3 they come to the B.S. conclusion
The Commonwealth 's tobacco-attributable outlays exceeded its tobacco revenue by $219m."
So then would that mean that if the current illegal drugs that we have we made legal, and taxed, that the tax would offset the negative qualities of illegal drugs?
Yeah, they lied even more than usual, I can hardly believe this stuff, but as you said...... the media will, if necessary they will hold their nose while reporting.
And your point is ...... ?????
You might want to try and fix something else.
One of the biggest cost for taxpayers is when people live too long.
Well I provided all the links so I challange you to please tell me where I am wrong.
if you think smoking is bad...
try breathing the air in l.a.
it is so bad; that many days, school kids aren't allowed outside to play....
n unlike smokers....kids breath 24 hours a day....gosh, who would have guessed?
I never heard of anyone committing a robbery or murder to get more cigarettes.
I put the no-smoking at any cost folks right up there with the GreenPeace-Global Warming crowd.
Chacun a son gout.
It IS a legal commodity. At least they don't have to buy cigarettes out of the back of a TRUCK!
Exactly! We HAVE our own health insurance, thank you! No one has to pay for any health care for me or my family.
The Congressional Research Service, in the 1998 revision of their study found: Smokers cost the federal government $9 billion in medical care and $10 billion in lost contributions to social security, etc. But they also found they save $40 billion in retirement costs (mostly social security), about $8 billion in nursing home costs (mostly from Medicaid), and they collect $5.6 billion in cigarette taxes. When added up, smokers saved the federal government $34.6 billion dollars yearly.
State governments saved money too. After subtracting net medical costs of $1.5 billion and $1.8 billion from lost contributions from a savings of $4.8 billion in nursing home costs financed through Medicaid and $.6 billion in retirement savings, and $7.6 billion in cigarette taxes, smokers saved the states almost $9.7 billion.
That's a total saving of $44.3 billion.
Since this 1998 report, taxes have skyrocketed on cigarettes in many states and the tobacco settlement was signed. The settlement was for reimbursement of past and future medical expenses, so states have not only been reimbursed, but smokers are paid up to infinity on future medical costs.
Leaving out new taxes and the settlement, smokers have been overpaying the state and federal governments for an average $950 each year I figure. But to be fair, there are about the same number as former smokers as smokers so if there is ever a rebate given, it should be split up between the two groups and average about $475 each, each year.
Now, the state insurance program may feel the effects of smokers costs, but either it should be taken out of the excise tax or figured into the tobacco settlement, which supposedly covers it.
Well most of the negative effects..what is the cost to children of smokers or drug users? I imagine if you throw out the amount of money being wasted in the WOSD's then legalizing drugs & taxing them could be a money maker for the government, not to mention a return of civil rights and liberty...
I will concede the nightmares is probably correct - because every time I have a dream that involved the lies of the antis - it is a nightmare.
I'll have to dig out the list from Delaware and post it - talk about a laugh!!!!!!!!!
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