Health Service Utilization by Smokers and Nonsmokers

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Among members of a prepaid health plan, a sample of white men and women age 20 years or older was studied for differences in utilization of several types of health services by cigarette smokers, nonsmokers, and exsmokers. Health examinations, especially Automated Multiphasic Health Testing (AMHT), were used least by smokers. Smoking was associated with an augmented social class difference in use of health examinations. AMHT in particular was used most frequently by ex-smokers. Frequency of doctor office visits was highest for male smokers and female ex-smokers. Male smokers aged 60 years or older made far the highest demand of all age-sex groups for hospital services, the most expensive type of health service. Cigarette smoking habits ought to be taken into account in estimating medical care utilization and costs that will he experienced by a particular population.

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