Medicaid Could Save $2.6 Billion Within a Year if Just 1 Percent of Recipients Quit Smoking

A study by Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, Director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, found that Medicaid savings in the year following a 1% reduction of smoking prevalence would total $2.6 billion.

The research, published in JAMA Network Open, shows that the median state would save $25 million, ranging from $630.2 million in California (if the smoking rate dropped from 15.5 percent to 14.5 percent) to $2.5 million in South Dakota (if the rate dropped from 41.3 to 40.3 percent).

While the study examines only the potential savings from reducing the total number of Medicaid recipients who smoke, it shows that even if each smoker just smoked less, there would be additional reductions in health care costs. The cost reductions from reducing smoking would continue and likely grow over the long term.

Total Medicaid costs in 2017 were $577 billion.

Read the article summarizing the study in Patient Care here, or view the full study.