As electronic cigarettes continue to make ground saving customers money and offering a viable alternative to all the health ills and negatives that come with tobacco, on an individual level they have been beyond groundbreaking and positive. However, on a much larger scale, in regards to public health, the question has presented itself as to whether alternative cigarettes can save governments money, and have a major affect on the population’s health as a whole. Can they?
The answer is yes. By eliminating a large amount of the health care costs that come as a result of smoking, as tobacco is the cause of many deadly diseases, and by halting a great amount of productivity loss as a result of tobacco-caused illness, e-cigarettes possess a great amount of promise. They have the potential to save the American government a massive amount of money.
In 2009, a comprehensive study was performed to assess the costs of tobacco cigarettes which the government, both state and federal, were dealing with. Costs included productivity losses, and a great increase in the cost of healthcare to cover illness and disease related to smoking. In this time period in which the study was done, the US spent $185 billion alone in productivity losses. Healthcare related costs, paid for by the government, totaled in at $116 million. These figures are not, by any means small, and considering the economy is still recovering from the Great Recession, this is a massive amount of money that can be allocated elsewhere.
Rather astounding, don’t you say?
The CDC, also known as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates that Medicaid covers approximately 68 million people in the US. Of that population, 52% are smokers. And considering the aforementioned cost of government healthcare being spent on cigarette-related disease and productivity loss, the number of smokers who are covered by Medicaid is indicative of how much money is being spent paying for tobacco caused illness.
Just using these figures alone, is enough to know that by offering the public a convenient option with smokeless cigarettes, therefore illuminating tobacco usage, the government can predictably spend less money on smoking-related diseases, illnesses, and medical issues. Bottom line, e-cigarettes have the potential to save the government hundreds of millions of dollars; just some food for thought in terms of spending!