Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1998

Abstract

The first criticism is that the proposed resolution would not require manufacturers and, in tum, consumers to pay anything approaching the true total costs of cigarettes, costs that we estimate to be at least $7 per pack, a number that is considerably higher than other estimates that have been reported in the media. Our estimate includes some, but not all, of the costs borne ultimately by smokers themselves, by smokers' insurers, and by individuals injured by second-hand smoke. It includes only future costs and excludes many of those. So, for example, the figure includes neither the health-care costs that have previously been caused by smoking nor the future pain-andsuffering costs borne by smokers or family members of deceased smokers. Unlike most economists who have previously attempted to measure the costs of cigarettes, we do not reduce our estimate of cigarette costs to take into account the "savings" resulting from cigarette-induced premature deaths. Those savings - measured mostly in the form of smokers' unclaimed pension and nursing-home entitlements - may not in fact be real, and in any event, are not relevant to the questions of whether and how best to regulate the market for cigarettes.


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