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Tobacco and Children: An Economic Evaluation of the Medical Effects of Parental Smoking

Michael Clark, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(12):1269. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170490095022.
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I read with interest the article by Aligne and Stoddard,1 titled "Tobacco and Children: Economic Evaluation of the Medical Effects of Parental Smoking,"published in the July issue of the Archives. The analysis is a conservative view of the monetary cost of children's health care associated with tobacco use. The article is welcome and needs to be expanded into other real areas of "cost."

Simple mathematics reveal if the price of a single pack of cigarettes were saved each day in a 6% interest-bearing account from the day of conception to the time that child reached the age of 18 years, the account would have more than $23 000 in it. In an account earning 10%, the total saved would be about $39 000. This is enough money to educate most young adults in whatever chosen field. The savings could also be used to gain wonderful experiences otherwise not affordable.

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