Obesity and Tobacco Forum

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The CT Public Policy Institute held a forum at the Capitol yesterday on the scope of obesity and tobacco issues in our state and what policymakers can do to improve health and lower costs. 16% of CT adults currently smoke, below the US average of 21%. Smoking kills more people than AIDS plus alcohol plus motor vehicle accidents plus homicide plus drugs plus suicide. Alcoholic smokers are more likely to die of smoking than from alcohol. Effective smoking cessation treatment is more cost effective than statins, front airbags, or annual mammograms. Smoking costs CT’s economy $2 billion every year. The real cost of a pack of cigarettes in CT is $14.30, including medical costs and lost productivity and taxes. Smoking costs CT’s Medicaid program $507 million/year; CT is one of only five states that does not cover smoking cessation treatments. We heard about the remarkable success of MA’s comprehensive treatment program.
The obesity report builds on an Institute forum in May; recommendations centered on menu labeling, taxing soda, and the federal farm bill. The reports were funded by the Universal Health Care Foundation of CT.
Ellen Andrews