UCSF

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 "The Effect of the California Tobacco Control Program on Smoking Prevalence, Cigarette Consumption, and Healthcare Costs: 1989–2008" published in the online journal, PLOS ONE, updates an earlier study with an additional five years of data and a more sophisticated economic analysis.

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California’s Tobacco Control Program Generates Huge Health Care Savings


About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.