CDC Chief and Graphic Antismoking Ads

Today’s Managing Health Care Costs Indicator is $200 billion

Thomas Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  is interviewed in this weekend’s On The Media, where he talks about the federal government’s upcoming graphic anticigarette ad campaign.   He quotes freely from the most recent Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking, which focuses on preventing smoking among youth.

Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the US – almost a half-century after the first Surgeon General’s report.  Still – the rate of adult cigarette smoking in the US has plummeted by half, and the huge drop in death from heart disease is likely largely due to smoking cessation (rather than cholesterol medications or heart surgery or angioplasty).

A few facts mentioned by Dr. Frieden:
- For each person who dies of a smoking-related disease, 20 are disabled or made ill from smoking
- The annual cost of smoking to the national economy is estimated to be $200 billion. (This is loss of productivity – not only health care claims costs)
- 2/3 of smokers want to quit
- Most people who ever smoked have already quit
- Most smokers try to quit each year.

He hopes the ad campaign will help convince 50,000 smokers to quit.

Here’s what this campaign is up against (From the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report, p10)

In 2008, tobacco companies spent $9.94 billion on the marketing of cigarettes and $547 million on the marketing of smokeless tobacco. Spending on cigarette marketing is 48% higher than in 1998, the year of the Master Settlement Agreement. Expenditures for marketing smokeless tobacco are 277% higher than in 1998.