Spanish Smoking Ban Would Save Over €5,000m a Year
March 29th, 2010
With an appropriate policy for banning tobacco use, the Spanish national health system could save about 5,500 million euros in direct treatment expenditure, as well as saving 1,500 million euros in pharmaceutical costs.
This was the opinion given today by Juan Ruiz Manzano, president of the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR), who stated that the amount of expenditure directly attributable to smoking in 2008 was 14,710 million euros, while tax revenues from the sale of tobacco in the same year reached only 9,266 million euros.
In 2008 the Spanish government’s direct healthcare cost of the five main illnesses associated with the consumption of tobacco – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, lung cancer, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease – reportedly amounted to 6,870 million euros.
Additionally, as a result of smoking the cost to Spanish companies in the same year is estimated at around 7,840 million euros. Of this amount, 76% is attributed to lost productivity, 20% for additional costs in cleaning and the maintenance of facilities, with the remainder is due to absenteeism.
“Besides the benefits in cost savings to public health, expansion of the Anti-Tobacco Law would be one of the greatest advances in recent years in terms of overall public health,” said Ruiz Manzano. The pulmonologist expert specifically emphasized that the extension of this law is also necessary in order to “defend the rights of non-smokers to avoid inhaling the smoke of cigarette users.” He also argued that smoking should be treated as a primary public health problem, as each year it takes the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, both actively and passively.
There have been concerns that a complete ban on smoking would affect businesses, especially in hospitality and tourism in Spain. However, Dr. Carlos Jimenez, coordinator of the smoking department of SEPAR, has concluded that all studies on the economic impact of the laws of smoke-free environments in various countries have revealed no negative consequences whatsoever for the hospitality sector and, if there is an effect, it is a positive one.
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