Tobacco use continues to be the single most preventable
cause of death and disease in the U.S. In NYS, tobacco use is the
underlying cause of one-fifth of all deaths. Moreover, chronic disease
and disability due to tobacco use is a constant drain on our communities
Other than the devastation of a house fire caused
by a burning cigarette, the tragedy of tobacco use often goes unnoticed.
Tobacco use is still pretty well accepted—even glamorized—in
our society. Marketing efforts put youth under constant pressure to
start smoking or chewing, while making it harder for adults already
hooked to muster the motivation to quit.
Here’s what smoking looks like
in Tompkins County:
• Nearly 15,000 adults smoke
• They smoke just over 10,000 packs a day
• About 2,500 of Tompkins County adult smokers
buy all of their cigarettes at an Indian Reservation.
Another 2,400 get some of their smokes
on the Reservation.
And here is the annual cost to Tompkins County:
• Smoking is responsible for about $36 million
a year in medical and lost productivity costs in Tompkins County.
• Smoking is the basis of about $2.7 million in
Medicaid money paid by Tompkins County.
It is hard to get ahead of costs like this. Please
take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these data.
Tompkins population (U.S. Census est. 2003) = 101,411 
Age 18+ years (81%) = 82,143
X 18.2 percent smokers (from TFT survey)
= 14,950 smokers in Tompkins County.
14,950 smokers X avg cigarettes smoked per day (13.5 from TFT survey)
= 10,091 packs smoked per day in Tompkins
10,091 packs per day X $9.82 medical and lost productivity cost per
= $99,094 /day ($36.17M /yr) in medical and lost productivity
costs in Tompkins County
Medicaid costs per pack in NYS is $5.70 
$5.70/pack X 10,091 packs/day in Tompkins
= $57,518.70 Medicaid cost/day in Tompkins County
Medicaid cost/day in Tompkins X 365 = Medicaid cost per year.
Tompkins County share = 12.9% of total Medicaid costs per 2003 NYSDOH
= $2,708,267.99 annual Tompkins County share of Medicaid
costs attributable to tobacco use