Economic burden from smoking-related diseases in Thailand

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Abstract

Objective

To assess economic burden attributable to smoking in Thailand in 2009.

Methods

A prevalence-based, disease-specific cost of illness approach was used to estimate the direct medical costs, indirect medical costs, productivity loss due to premature deaths and absenteeism caused by smoking-related diseases. Direct healthcare costs were obtained from the inpatient and outpatient charge database at the National Health Security Office and the Central Office for Healthcare Information. Indirect healthcare costs were obtained from the Health and Welfare Survey. The household Socioeconomic Survey provided data on income of the population. Costs were estimated for 7 disease groups, namely, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), upper aerodigestive tract cancer, other cancer, other respiratory diseases and other medical conditions. Smoking Attributable Fractions were derived from the 2009 Thai Burden of Disease study.

Results

Total economic burden of smoking amounted to 74.88 billion Thai Baht (THB) (95% CI 74.59 to 75.18) (US$2.18, 95% CI US$2.17 to US$2.19 billion). Of this, most of the burden resulted from productivity loss 62.24 billion THB (95% CI 62.05 to 62.44) (US$1.81, 95% CI US$1.81 to US$1.82 billion). Total medical cost was 12.64 billion THB (12.44 to 12.85) (US$0.37, 95% CI US$0.36 to US$0.37 billion). Excluding other medical conditions, the direct healthcare costs were highest for CVD, followed by COPD and other respiratory diseases, respectively. All together, the total cost of smoking accounted for 0.78% (95% CI 0.78% to 0.79%) of the national gross domestic product and about 18.19% (95% CI 18.12% to 18.27%) of total health expenditure.

Conclusions

The total economic loss from smoking-related diseases highlights the significant loss to the society, health sector and the country's economy. Such information is crucial for informing national public health policy, particularly when a conflict arises between the economy and health.

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