The use of electronic cigarettes costs the United States $15 billion annually in healthcare expenditures—more than $2,000 per person a year—according to a study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing.
The study, published on May 23 in Tobacco Control, is the first to look at the healthcare costs of e-cigarette use among adults 18 and older, according to the release.
“Our finding indicates that healthcare expenditures for a person who uses e-cigarettes are $2,024 more per year than for a person who doesn’t use any tobacco products,” said lead author Yingning Wang of the UCSF Institute for Health and Aging.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, combustible cigarette smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion each year, including more than $225 billion for direct medical care for adults.
The researchers based their estimates of healthcare costs and utilization on data from the 2015–2018 National Health Interview Survey. Healthcare utilization included nights in the hospital, emergency room visits, doctor visits and home visits.
“Healthcare costs attributable to e-cigarette use are already greater than our estimates of healthcare costs attributable to cigar and smokeless tobacco use,” said Wang. “This is a concerning finding given that e-cigarettes are a relatively new product whose impact is likely to increase over time.”