Tobacco control programs and policies reduce tobacco use and prevent health and economic harms. The majority of tobacco control programs and policies in the United States are implemented at local and state levels. Yet the literature on state-level initiatives reports a limited set of outcomes. To facilitate decision-making that is increasingly focused on costs, we provide estimates of a broader set of measures of the impact of tobacco control policy, including smoking prevalence, disease events, deaths, medical costs, productivity and tobacco tax revenues, using the experience of Minnesota as an example.
Using the HealthPartners Institute’s ModelHealth™: Tobacco MN microsimulation, we assessed the impact of the stream of tobacco control expenditures and cigarette price increases from 1998 to 2017. We simulated 1.3 million individuals representative of the Minnesota population.
The simulation estimated that increased expenditures on tobacco control above 1997 levels prevented 38,400 cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes and respiratory disease events and 4,100 deaths over 20 years. Increased prices prevented 14,600 additional events and 1,700 additional deaths. Both the net increase in tax revenues and the reduction in medical costs were greater than the additional investments in tobacco control.
Combined, the policies address both short-term and long-term goals to reduce the harms of tobacco by helping adults who wish to quit smoking and deterring youth from starting to smoke. States can pay for initial investments in tobacco control through tax increases and recoup those investments through reduced expenditures on medical care.