Study finds tobacco control efforts yield huge health care savings

California tobacco control efforts that cost $2.4 billion over nearly two decades reduced health care costs during that same period by $134 billion, according to a new study co-authored by UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member James Lightwood, PhD.

“These health care cost savings began to appear almost immediately after the program started and have grown over time, reaching more than $25 billion a year in 2008,” said Lightwood, a faculty member in the School’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy.

The California program combining aggressive anti-smoking ads with community programs started after voters passed Proposition 99 in 1988, which increased cigarette taxes by 25 cents per pack to fund it.

The new study, published in the online journal, PLOS ONE, updates an earlier one with an additional five years of data and a more sophisticated economic analysis.


California’s Tobacco Control Program Generates Huge Health Care Savings

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.