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September 12, 1986

Payment by Nonsmokers for Smoking-Related Illness

Author Affiliations

New England Deaconess Hospital Boston

JAMA. 1986;256(10):1291. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380100065009

To the Editor.—  Cost consciousness prevails in medical discussions in 1985. The cost to society, and especially to nonsmokers, of the smoking habit in economic terms is pertinent, because this economic burden should be shifted entirely to those people who smoke in order to lighten the load for the majority of the population who practice a healthy life-style. In 1980, we estimated the medical care costs of smoking at $1.10 per package, or over 5 cents per cigarette.1 An update in 1985 to account for inflation of medical costs seems appropriate, and is calculated in a similar fashion and reported here.In 1984, Massachusetts had a population of 5 738 043.2 Twenty-five percent of the population smokes,3 or 1 434 511 people. This commonwealth imposed a tobacco tax of 26 cents per pack in 1984, which raised $174 973 000.4 Thus, there were sold in Massachusetts