When smoking rates decline, health care spending declines, too, and fast. An analysis from researchers at UC San Francisco finds that if 10 percent of smokers nationwide quit, it would save a whopping $63 billion in national health care costs the next year.
Stan Glantz, a professor of medicine at UCSF and director of its Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, was co-author of the study, which found that a 10 percent decline in both prevalence of smoking and per-person cigarette consumption would save one percent of total health care cost.
"That doesn't sound like much," said Glantz, "but the amount of money that our society spends on health care costs is gigantic, so if you can cut that by a percent, that's a big effect."
Research has long shown that smoking cessation saves money in the long run, but this study focused on year-over-year savings.
UCSF scientists conducted a state-by-state comparison of smoking prevalence and health care costs, compared to the national smoking rate.