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Prev Med. 2001 Feb;32(2):168-74.

What is the potential cost-effectiveness of enforcing a prohibition on the sale of tobacco to minors?

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, 55 Lake Avenue, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.

Erratum in

  • Prev Med 2001 Sep;33(3):227.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Enforcement programs to halt the sale of tobacco to youths have been implemented across the United States. The potential cost-effectiveness of enforcement was evaluated under a range of assumptions regarding cost and impact.

METHODS:

An enforcement model was constructed incorporating quarterly inspections of all tobacco vendors. The cost of discounted years of life saved was calculated using reported values regarding cost and a range of assumptions regarding the impact on youth tobacco use.

RESULTS:

Inspecting an estimated 543,000 tobacco outlets would cost up to $190 million annually. Costs range from $44 to $8,200 per year of life saved depending on the discount rate and assumptions regarding cost, and efficacy. To compete in cost-effectiveness with implementing smoking cessation guidelines, enforcement would have to produce a 5% reduction in adolescent smoking at a cost of no more than $250 per vendor.

CONCLUSION:

At this level of cost and effectiveness an enforcement program could save 10 times as many lives as the same amount spent on mammography or screening for colorectal carcinoma. A one-cent per pack cigarette tax could fully fund enforcement. Enforcement of tobacco sales laws deserves further study as one component of a multifaceted approach to tobacco use prevention.

PMID:
11162343
DOI:
10.1006/pmed.2000.0795
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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