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That's how much a study sponsored by Phillip Morris said the Czech Republic saves on health care, pensions, and housing every time a smoker dies.

From the latest (August, 2001) ad by the American Legacy Foundation.

Like many statistics, this factoid hides other truths. The report (readable at http://americanlegacy.org/Czech/) is a study performed by Arthur D. Little (under commission from the Czech branch of Philip Morris) on the impacts to the public finance as a result of smoking. The study analyzed 1999, and the estimates of positive and negative impacts were:

Positive: 21 463 million CZK
Negative: 15 647 million CZK
Net: +5 815 million CZK

This report is nothing more than a debunking of the anti-smoking myth that "Smoking is a burden on the government pocketbook." The two largest single items were the negative first hand cost of health care (11 422 mil CZK) and the positive impact of excise tax (15 648 mil CZK). The $1,227 figure is reached by simply dividing the positive impact by the number of deaths, and converting to USD.

Unfortunately, while Philip Morris has done some clearly evil things in other venues, this isn't one of them. This is a clear answer to folks on both sides of the ledger: Financially, there is no adverse impact to the general public as a result of cigarette sales.

About the noder: cordelia is a rabid nonsmoker who watched two grandparents die foul deaths from lung cancer. cordelia also spent several years as a bartender working in smoke-filled bars. cordelia is that person who will ask you to extinguish your butt if you're smoking somewhere you shouldn't be.

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