Use of electronic cigarettes costs the United States $15 billion annually in health care expenditures – more than $2,000 per person a year – according to a study by researchers at the UC San Francisco School of Nursing.
The study, published on May 23, 2022, in Tobacco Control, is the first to look at the health care costs of e-cigarette use among adults 18 and older.
“Our finding indicates that health care expenditures for a person who uses e-cigarettes are $2,024 more per year than for a person who doesn’t use any tobacco products,” said lead author Yingning Wang, PhD, of the UCSF Institute for Health & Aging.
The researchers based their estimates of health care costs and utilization on data from the 2015-2018 National Health Interview Survey. Health care utilization included nights in the hospital, emergency room visits, doctor visits and home visits.
“Health care costs attributable to e-cigarette use are already greater than our estimates of health care costs attributable to cigar and smokeless tobacco use,” said Wang. “This is a concerning finding, given that e-cigarettes are a relatively new product whose impact is likely to increase over time.”
Principal investigator Wendy Max, PhD, director of the Institute for Health & Aging, noted that from 2013 to 2018, e-cigarette use among high school students soared from 4.5% to 20.8%.