North Carolina - economic burden of secondhand smoke..

March 18, 2009 - Secondhand smoke (passive smoking, sidestream smoke, involuntary smoking, ETS, environmental tobacco smoke) carries a $288.8 million price tag annually in North Carolina, according to a study released yesterday by the N.C. Division of Health and Human Services. The study, titled North Carolina's Secondhand Smoke Healthcare Cost Burden, also found that at least 107,067 North Carolinians are treated for conditions caused by secondhand smoke each year.

Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief of the Chronic Disease and Injury Section of the N.C. Division of Public Health, will present the report findings to the North Carolina House Judiciary I Committee as they meet on Tuesday, March 17, to discuss House Bill 2, a bill to Prohibit Smoking in Public and Work Places. The author of the study said that the estimate is conservative because it does not consider other costs, such as lost productivity, long-term care and disability services not covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield N.C. or the impact on quality of life.

Dr. Plescia: "This study is based on the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's report on secondhand smoke (The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke) and also on North Carolina-specific data. It provides the first-ever look at the health care costs related to secondhand smoke in North Carolina."

The study is modeled on one done in Minnesota by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. In North Carolina, Clinical Informatics at Blue Cross Blue Shield N.C. replicated the methodology, using North Carolina and national data. (Waters, Hugh, Nina L. Alesci, Steven S. Foldes, Jonathan Samet, The Economic Impact of Exposure to Secondhand Tobacco Smoke in Minnesota, American Journal of Public Health April 2009, Vol 99, No. 4, 754-759, ABSTRACT..)

U.S. - Children Remain Especially Vulnerable to Secondhand Smoke..

Related news briefs: North Carolina - ban on smoking in public places passes 1st test..; Virginia - smoking ban passes for most bars and restaurants..; North Carolina, the state that produces more tobacco...; Statewide Smoking Ban Fails to Clear North Carolina..

Reference: Second-hand smoke carries high health-price tag, study says, The Associated Press, 3/16/2009; Secondhand smoke costs NC $288.8 million annually, wbtv-channel3, 3/17/2009.

Click on image to enlarge.., Vermont QUIT Network.