|Medical and Productivity Losses Related to Smoking|
|Americans Would Choose Wealth Over Youth, Beauty|
Medical and Productivity Losses Related to Smoking
The combined cost of medical spending and productivity losses caused by smoking in the U.S. is about $193 billion a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco use is responsible for 20% of U.S. deaths. Employers find that a smoker is 18% more expensive than a nonsmoker.
Because of these costs, many companies use incentives or insurance surcharges to encourage desired employee behavior. Companies such a Macy’s PepsiCo and Gannett make employee smokers pay hundreds of dollars in additional insurance each year. Others, such as Union Pacific and Scotts Miracle-Gro refuse to hire smokers.
The smoking rate is four times higher among teens not headed for college than for teens pursuing higher education. In 2009, almost 30% of adults with at most a high school education were current smokers compared with 22% of those with some college and just 9% of those with at least a bachelors’ degree.
Most state governments have an excise tax on cigarette sales to help discourage smoking and to raise revenue to pay for smoking-related health problems. These cigarette excise taxes range from around $0.17 per pack in Missouri to $4.25 in New York, with a state average tax of $1.45 per pack. A pack of cigarettes costs about $11 in New York, compared with a national average of $4.80.
According to Ypartnership, one-half of Americans are familiar with the term “medical tourism” (travel to other countries to undergo medical treatment). Of the 17% who say they would consider visiting another country for medical care, their reasons include:
- Lower cost of care in other countries (84%)
- Comparable or better quality treatment or care (66%)
- The procedure they seek is not covered by insurance (43%)
- Shorter wait time to receive treatment (41%)
- Access to non-FDA approved treatment (22%)
Americans Would Choose Wealth Over Youth, Beauty
When given the choice, Americans say they would rather be richer (43%) than thinner (21%), smarter (14%), or younger (12%). About one in 10 (9%) say they would not choose any of these options.
Women (29%) are more than twice as likely as men (14%) to choose to be thinner, whereas men are more likely than women to choose to be richer (46% vs. 41%) and younger (16% vs. 8%). The following chart shows preferences by age.
Would Americans Rather be Richer, Thinner, Smarter, or Younger? By Age, 2010
- Most Americans aged 70 and older (78%) retained their driver licenses in 2008, up from 73% in 1997. During that period, fatal crashes involving drivers aged 70 and older declined by 37%.
- Seven in 10 Americans (70%) look to the Internet when they have a question about sex. Other sources include books (23%), men’s magazines (20%), asking friends (18%), and women’s magazines (17%).
- Some 28% of Americans say that individuals are responsible for obesity and 20% blame the fast food industry. This reflects a significant shift from 2009 when 26% blamed the fast food industry and 24% blamed individuals.