Latest Research on Tobacco Use and Health Care Cost Has Global Implications
By Derek Yach, Executive Director, The Vitality Institute, and a former executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Katie Tryon, M.D., Clinical Director, The Vitality Institute.
This month's articles on health care costs and tobacco control in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) have far reaching implications beyond the shores of South Africa. The latest Global Burden of Disease data (Lancet, 2012) show that two of the top three risk factors that contribute to the highest burden of disease in Western Europe and the U.S. are tobacco and high Body Mass Index (BMI). This not only has serious health consequences, it has significant financial implications for governments, businesses and individuals -- both in terms of direct health care costs and indirect costs such as work productivity.