(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A new Indiana University study shows that the state could benefit greatly if a statewide smoking ban is enacted.
Indiana’s lawmakers are currently considering a bill which, if it becomes law, would prohibit smoking in most public workplaces including restaurants, bars, and offices. The bill currently contains exemptions for Indiana’s casinos and veterans clubs.
On Monday, Indiana University’s Bowen Research Center at the IU School of Medicine released a study which is likely to provide supporters of a smoking ban an even stronger argument.
The 25-page study based on 2008 data found second-hand smoke presents an economic cost $1.3 billion each year. The figure breaks down to $201 per Hoosier, per year.
More than 50,000 deaths in the United States each year is attributed to secondhand smoke. About 1,400 of those deaths occur in Indiana.
The study claims loss of life expenses due to secondhand smoke are estimated at $977.5 million. Another $327.1 million was contributed to direct health care costs.
"We’ve known for years the devastating role that secondhand smoke plays in the health of nonsmokers, but with the constantly rising costs of healthcare, we’re finding that secondhand smoke also has a huge economic impact to the tune of well over $1 billion every year," said lead study author Dr. Terrell Zollinger.
“Hoosier taxpayers take on the burden of those costs in the form of increased premiums for health and life insurance, increased taxes to provide care through government programs, and increased costs of goods and services,” he said.
The Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University conducted a poll of Indiana residents in November, finding that 56 percent of Hoosiers support a smoking ban. The poll’s margin of error was 4.4 percent.