Smoking Deaths

CDC: Early deaths from smoking cost 92  billion dollars in lost productivity

Federal health officials are putting a dollar figure on lost productivity due to early deaths caused by smoking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking-related lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses cut life expectancy an average of about 14 years. A CDC report says the "lost productivity" between 1997 and 2001 amounted to 92 billion dollars. The study gave no overall estimate of the health care costs tied to smoking over the same five-year period. But officials said the medical bill was more than 75 billion dollars in 1998 alone.

The report also says 438-thousand people died each year between 1997 and 2001 due to smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. That's down marginally from the five-year period of 1995 through 1999. The CDC's director says there's been "good progress" in cutting the number of people who smoke, but there's "much more work to do."