Posted by: transcendingchaos | May 15, 2008

Thank me for smoking

According to a new study done in the Netherlands, led by Pieter van Baal, contrary to popular belief, smokers actually cost the health care less than healthy people, as well as obese people.

From the study (which can be found here):

The researchers used their model to estimate the number of surviving individuals and the occurrence of various diseases for three hypothetical groups of men and women, examining data from the age of 20 until the time when the model predicted that everyone had died. The “obese” group consisted of never-smoking people with a BMI of more than 30; the “healthy-living” group consisted of never-smoking people with a healthy weight; the “smoking” group consisted of lifetime smokers with a healthy weight. Data from the Netherlands on the costs of illness were fed into the model to calculate the yearly and lifetime health-care costs of all three groups.

The model predicted that until the age of 56, yearly health costs were highest for obese people and lowest for healthy-living people. At older ages, the highest yearly costs were incurred by the smoking group. However, because of differences in life expectancy (life expectancy at age 20 was 5 years less for the obese group, and 8 years less for the smoking group, compared to the healthy-living group), total lifetime health spending was greatest for the healthy-living people, lowest for the smokers, and intermediate for the obese people.

So, instead of trying to prevent smokers from smoking outside on patios or beaches (it’s a free country!), and before we pour more money into smoking cessation programs, we should say, “Thanks for keeping health care costs down. This next pack’s on me.”


Thank you for smoking



  1. Thanks you comment makers for not talking about the article. This is one of the biggest issues facing the public opinion domain, and I think this study provides valuable insight into the current debate. Certainly, it at least quenches many a smug citizen a second opinion on the cult of smokers (which used to include nearly everyone). May our country remain free and clear of smug.

  2. By “quenches” I meant “gives.” I started a sentence and then started another halfway through.

  3. joule says : I absolutely agree with this !

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