Estimating the Economic Impact of Secondhand Smoke on the Health of a Community

Terrell W. Zollinger, Robert M. Saywell, Amanda D. Overgaard, Stephen J. Jay, Angela M. Holloway, Sandra F. Cummings

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Scopus citations


    Purpose. This study provides a model to estimate the health-related costs of secondhand smoke exposure at a community level. Model Development. Costs of secondhand smoke-related mortality and morbidity were estimated using national attributable risk values for diseases that are causally related to secondhand smoke exposure for adults and children. Estimated costs included ambulatory care costs, hospital inpatient costs, and loss of life costs based on vital statistics, hospital discharge data, and census data. Application of the Model. The model was used to estimate health-related costs estimates of secondhand smoke exposure for Marion County, Indiana. Attributable risk values were applied to the number of deaths and hospital discharges to determine the number of individuals impacted by secondhand smoke exposure. Results. The overall cost of health care and premature loss of life attributed to secondhand smoke for the study county was estimated to be $53.9 million in 2000-$10.5 million in health care costs and $20.3 million in loss of life for children compared with $6.2 million in health care costs and $16. 9 million in loss of life for adults. This amounted to $62.68 per capita. Conclusions. This method may be replicated in other counties to provide data needed to educate the public and community leaders about the health effects and costs of secondhand smoke exposure.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)232-238
    Number of pages7
    JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


    • Health Costs
    • Secondhand Smoke

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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    Zollinger, T. W., Saywell, R. M., Overgaard, A. D., Jay, S. J., Holloway, A. M., & Cummings, S. F. (2004). Estimating the Economic Impact of Secondhand Smoke on the Health of a Community. American Journal of Health Promotion, 18(3), 232-238.