Help the economy: stop smoking

My email box had its usual number of press releases relating to health and well being this morning. I get them from all kinds of sources and generally scan to see if they relate to cancer before sending them off to the trash bin. This morning the CDC put out a media advisory about the latest state related smoking statistics. And then a few emails later it put out another one with a correction. That got me interested. They don't usually make mistakes, so I opened it. The first one said: Each year, approximately 443,000 people die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million suffer from a serious smoking-related illness. Moreover, costs associated with smoking-related illness amount to nearly $96 million in medical expenses, $97 million in lost productivity, and 5.1 million years of potential life lost in the United States annually. The corrected one said: Each year, approximately 443,000 people die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million suffer from a serious smoking-related illness. Moreover, costs associated with smoking-related illness amount to nearly $96 BILLION in medical expenses, $97 BILLION in lost productivity, and 5.1 million years of potential life lost in the United States annually.That's right, BILLIONS. What is the matter with us. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for approximately 1 of every 5 deaths in the United States each year.And you can be darned sure that lots of those billions are from uninsured Americans, meaning the cost is coming back to you and me in our insurance costs. When do we stop this. When do we just put our foot down and demand that this end. We don't allow people to shoot us, but they can stand next to us and blow second hand smoke in our face -- or in the faces of children in their care. Some states have made it really uncomfortable -- and costly to smoke. Check out how your state is doing at the CDC website.