Tobacco growth and use poses a heavy burden on governments and society as a whole. Costs include indirect costs related to workday losses due to morbidity and direct costs associated with inpatient and outpatient care. Non-smokers also pay for the costs of smoking, primarily in the form of higher health insurances and medical costs related to second-hand smoke, leading to higher taxes and higher prices for healthcare products and services.

The estimate of direct and indirect costs of smoking for EU/EFTA countries is €97.7 billion, of which the direct costs of smoking are €49.83 billion, and the indirect costs of smoking are €47.87 billion. This amounts to between €211 and €281 per capita (for both smokers and non-smokers), or between 1.04% to 1.39% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product in 2000.

Tobacco-related deaths result in lost economic opportunities. In the US, these losses are estimated at US$92 billion a year.

Tobacco control interventions are the second most effective way to spend health funds, after childhood immunisation. Measures to tackle tobacco use, such as tax increase, restrictions on advertising and promotion, and smokefree workplaces and public places, are cost-effective and do not require large investment of capital.

Tobacco-related diseases put a heavy economic burden on society as they increase healthcare expenditure and increase costs related to productivity losses and lost income tax and social security contributions

The estimated direct and indirect costs of smoking for EU/EFTA countries is €97.7 billion, of which the direct costs of smoking are €49.83 billion

Overall cardiovascular disease (CVD) is estimated to cost the EU economy €192 billion a year. This represents a total annual cost per capita of €391. Exposure to tobacco smoke is calculated to cause 22% of all cases of CVD in industrialised countries

The total financial burden of lung disease in Europe amounts to nearly €102 billion, a figure comparable to the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of the Republic of Ireland or €118 per capita.

Sources and References:

European Commission, Tobacco or Health in the European Union: Past, Present and Future, Luxembourg, 2004

WHO, Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic: the MPOWER package, Geneva, 2008

The Smoke Free Partnership receives operational funding from the European Commission. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.


The Smoke Free Partnership is...

a partnership between Cancer Research UK, the European Heart Network and Action on Smoking and Health (UK). We aim to promote tobacco control advocacy and policy research at EU and national levels in collaboration with other EU health organisations and EU tobacco control networks.