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U.S. Can Save 5.4 Million Lives by Following California’s Lead

Golden State's historic gains against tobacco set model for the nation

Posted by: Editor | Aug 9, 2011

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California recently reported that its aggressive tobacco control programs had reduced adult smoking to just 11.9 percent in 2010 — an historic low for the state.

That got us thinking: What would happen if the United States as a whole reduced smoking among adults from the current national rate of 20.6 percent to 11.9 percent?

Our research department ran the numbers.

If the national rate of smoking among adults were just 11.9 percent, there would be 20 million fewer adult smokers.

And that would mean:

  • 5.4 million fewer smoking-caused deaths
  • $190 billion in long-term health care cost savings
  • $34 billion in Medicaid program cost savings

California achieved its historic gains by increasing the tobacco tax, running tough media campaigns to counter industry marketing, funding programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, and implementing the nation's first statewide smoke-free law.

California's success is a timely reminder that we know how to win the fight against tobacco. With so many lives and dollars at stake, elected officials in every state should be racing to copy them.

Read our earlier post on California's success.

 

 

 

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We blog news and information about the global movement to reduce tobacco use and its devastating toll.

We expose the tobacco industry's deceitful practices and chronicle the work of advocates in the United States and around the globe who are battling the world’s leading cause of preventable death.

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