The monetary toll taken by cigarettes extends well beyond the $5-plus smokers have to shell out per pack these days. Those who undergo surgical procedures can expect to face an additional $400 or so in direct medical costs in the 12 months following hospitalization as compared with non-smokers.
That's the finding of a Mayo Clinic study recently published online by JAMA Surgery.
The study, which looked at more than 4,000 patients who had surgery in 2008 and 2009, found no difference in initial hospitalization costs. But the post-surgical bills add up to about $17 billion a year in direct medical costs in the United States, the study concludes.
Those who've managed to kick the habit fare better than their still-puffing counterparts, but in the first 12 months, former smokers still face $273 more in medical expenditures than those who've never smoked, say researchers.