Financial Cost to Connecticut Smokers Among Highest in the Nation

The financial cost of smoking in Connecticut is higher than just about anywhere in the United States.  The total cost over a lifetime per smoker is $2,183,204, the third highest in the nation, and the annual cost per year per smoker of $42,808, is also third highest in the nation, just behind New York and Massachusetts. The lifetime health care cost per smoker, $274,272 in Connecticut, is higher than every state but one, (Massachusetts), and the out-of-pocket cost per smoking individual of $170,513 for smokers living in Connecticut is third highest in the nation.

The data was compiled by the financial website WalletHub, where analysts calculated the potential monetary losses — including the cumulative cost of a cigarette pack per day over several decades, health-care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. 

Emphasizing that “the negative physical and financial effects of smoking can be significant,” WalletHub noted that Connecticut’s rankings placed it as among the most costly in every category.

Over a lifetime, the financial opportunity cost for smokers living in Connecticut was $1.436,335 and the income loss per smoker was calculated at $286,950.  Other costs per smoker, such as not being able to qualify for homeowner’s insurance discounts for non-smokers, were $15,133.  In each instance, the costs in Connecticut were among the three highest among the 50 states and District of Columbia.

Annual income loss for Connecticut smokers is calculated at $5,626.  Only Maryland, Alaska, New Jersey and D.C. were higher, according to the analysis. Attributable factors included absenteeism, workplace bias or lower productivity due to smoking-induced health problems.  The website also noted that according to a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, smokers earn 20 percent less than nonsmokers, 8 percent of which is attributed to smoking and 12 percent to other factors.

For the calculations, WalletHub assumed an adult who smokes one pack of cigarettes per day beginning at age 18, when a person can legally purchase tobacco products in the U.S., and a lifespan thereafter of 51 years, taking into account that 69 is the average age at which a smoker dies. Data used in developing the ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Insurance Information Institute,, Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), Kaiser Family Foundation and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

In 2016, the American Lung Association gave Connecticut an “F” grade in its spending of tobacco prevention and control funds.  The ALA points out that 40 states and Washington D.C. spend less than half of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends on their state tobacco prevention programs.  Overall, states spend less than two cents of every dollar they get from tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes to fight tobacco use.  Each day, more than 2,600 kids under 18 try their first cigarette and about 600 kids become new, regular smokers, according to nationwide data from ALA.

A report on Connecticut's spending on tobacco prevention just over a year ago found that the state was being outspent over 67 times by tobacco companies' marketing efforts - due in large part to the state spending only a small portion of tobacco settlement funds on anti-smoking efforts.

The report, “Broken Promises to our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 17 Years Later," said the state was spending $1.2 million in FY 2016 to fight tobacco use. That's compared to an estimated marketing investment of $80.4 million by tobacco companies in Connecticut that year. The national average shows a margin of 20.1 to 1.  At that time, Connecticut ranked 38th in spending on a percentage basis.  The state has consistently spend less than the CDC has recommended.

The annual report was developed by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), a coalition that includes the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, and the Truth Initiative.

A year later, the next report ranked Connecticut last, as Connecticut’s projected spending on smoke cessation and tobacco prevention efforts for FY 2017 dropped to zero.  The report found that 13.5 percent of adult state residents are smokers, and 10.3 percent of high school students smoke.  Just under 5,000 deaths each year are caused by smoking in Connecticut, and 27 percent of cancer deaths are attributable to smoking.  Connecticut’s cigarette excise tax, $3.90 per pack, is the second highest in the nation. It was estimated that the state would collect $519.7 million in revenue this year from the 1998 state tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend none of it on tobacco prevention programs.


Connecticut Leads the Nation in Preventative Health Care

Among the nation’s 34 most populous states, the rate of preventive health care visits was higher in Connecticut than any state in the nation.  Data released this month from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics also found that the rate of preventive care visits to primary care physicians, among the 34 most populous states, exceeded the national rate in Connecticut more than elsewhere. Preventive care visits such as general medical examinations, prenatal visits, and well-baby visits give physicians and other health professionals the opportunity to screen for diseases or conditions, as well as to promote healthy behaviors that may delay or prevent these conditions and reduce subsequent use of emergency or inpatient care.nchs_fb_identifier

In this report, the rate of preventive care visits to office-based physicians is examined by state, patient demographics, and physician specialty. Estimates are based on data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a nationally representative survey of visits to office-based physicians.

Overall, preventive care visit rates were higher for children under age 18 years (73.2 per 100 persons) and for those aged 65 and over (81.1 per 100 persons) than for adults aged 18–44 (53.2 per 100 persons) and 45–64 (51.8 per 100 persons).  The preventive care visit rates for women aged 18–44 (87.1 per 100 women) and 45–64 (60.5 per 100 women) exceeded the rates for men in those age groups (18.5 and 42.5 per 100 men, respectively).

doctorThe rate of preventive care visits in the 34 most populous states ranged from 33.1 visits per 100 persons in Arkansas to 120 visits per 100 persons in Connecticut.  Among those 34 states, the rate of preventive care visits was lower than the national rate in 11 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington).  The national average was 61.4 visits per 100 persons.  The data is from 2012, the most recent year available from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

In 2012, 35.7 preventive care visits were made to primary care physicians for every 100 persons across the United States.  In Connecticut, primary care physician preventative care visits were made 59.3 times per 100 people, the highest percentage in the nation.  In Massachusetts, the rate was 53.1, in Colorado 51.7, in Florida 48.7 in Georgia 43.3, in Texas 42.8 and in Maryland 42.2.  Overall, 58.2 percent of preventive care visits were made to primary care physicians, according to the CDC data.  Primary care physicians include office-based physicians in the specialties of family or general medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.1u1-c15ecce858

The female rate (76.6 visits per 100 females) of preventative care visits exceeded the male rate (45.4 visits per 100 males) by 69 percent. The percentage of preventive care visits to primary care physicians, however, made by males (76.3%) exceeded those made by females (48.0%). The data suggests that women tend to make their preventative care visits to physicians other than their primary care physician, with the report’s summary suggestion. this “may be related to gynecological or obstetric care for women.”

In 2012, the NAMCS survey sample size was increased fivefold to allow for state-level estimates in the 34 most populous states for the first time.

preventative health map