Aims: Objectives were (a) to estimate healthcare cost and productivity losses due to smoking in Sweden 2001 and (b) to compare the results with studies for Sweden 1980, Canada 1991, Germany 1996, and the USA 1998.
Methods: Published estimates on relative risks and Swedish smoking patterns were used to calculate attributable risks for smokers and former smokers. These were applied to cost estimates for smoking-related diseases based on data from public Swedish registers.
Results: The estimated total cost for Sweden 2001 was US 804 million dollars; COPD and cancer of the lung accounted for 43%. Healthcare cost accounted for 26% of the total cost. The estimated costs per smoker were US 3,200 dollars in the USA 1998; 1,600 in Canada 1991; 1,100 in Germany 1996; 600 in Sweden 2001; and 300 in Sweden 1980 (all in 2001 US dollar prices).
Conclusions: To reduce the prevalence of smoking is an issue worthwhile pursuing in its own right. In order to reduce the cost of smoking, however, policy-makers should also explore and influence the factors that determine the cost per smoker. Sweden seems to have been more successful than comparable countries in pursuing both these objectives.