The economic impact of exposure to secondhand smoke in Minnesota

Hugh R. Waters, Steven S. Foldes, Nina L. Alesci, Jonathan Samet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives. Using the risk categories established by the 2006 US surgeon general's report, we estimated medical treatment costs related to exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS) in the state of Minnesota. Methods. We estimated the prevalence and costs of treated medical conditions related to SHS exposure in 2003 with data from Blue Cross and Blue Shield (Minnesota's largest insurer), the Current Population Survey, and population attributable risk estimates for these conditions reported in the scientific literature. We adjusted treatment costs to the state level by health insurance category by using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Results. The total annual cost of treatment in Minnesota for conditions for which the 2006 surgeon general's report found sufficient evidence to conclude a causal link with exposure to SHS was $228.7 million in 2008 dollars-equivalent to $44.58 per Minnesota resident. Sensitivity analyses showed a range from $152.1 million to $330.0 million. Conclusions. The results present a strong rationale for regulating smoking in public places and were used to support the passage of Minnesota's Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-759
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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