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Smokers' Burden on Society: Myth and Reality in Canada


  • André Raynauld
  • Jean-Pierre Vidal


Several authors maintain that smokers impose a considerable burden on society through hospitalization and medical costs and lost output due to premature death. In this paper, supplementary costs related to smoking are estimated at 669 million dollars for the year 1986 in Canada. However, since future health cost reductions reach 462 million, the net external costs generated do not exceed 207 million. These costs give rise to transfers, but these in turn are more than compensated by other transfers such as taxes paid by smokers and reductions in pension benefits which lead to a net flow overall of 4.3 billion dollars in favor of non-smokers. The direction of this conclusion remains unchanged even considering a wide range of medical hypotheses.

Suggested Citation

  • André Raynauld & Jean-Pierre Vidal, 1992. "Smokers' Burden on Society: Myth and Reality in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 18(3), pages 300-317, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:18:y:1992:i:3:p:300-317

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chaloupka, Frank, 1991. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 722-742, August.
    2. Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1994. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 396-418, June.
    3. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Glenn W. Harrison & James P. Feehan & Alison C. Edwards & Jorge Segovia, 2003. "Cigarette Smoking and the Cost of Hospital and Physician Care," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-19, March.
    2. Richard Bird & Michael Smart, 2001. "Tax Policy and Tax Research in Canada," The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater,in: Patrick Grady & Andrew Sharpe (ed.), The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater, pages 59-78 Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    3. Ian J. Irvine & William A. Sims, 1997. "Tobacco Control Legislation and Resource Allocation Effects," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 23(3), pages 259-273, September.

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