Study: Smokers cost healthcare system extra $17B a year

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A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that smokers cost the healthcare system more money after surgery, racking up an excess $17 billion a year, according to a Reuters article. David Warner, M.D., and a team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota matched 678 current smokers with an equal number of people who never smoked, based on age, gender, type of surgery and insurance, as well as 945 pairs of former smokers and people who never smoked. Using records from inpatient surgeries between 2008 and 2009, Warner's team found healthcare costs for current smokers was about $400 more a month, and $273 more a month for former smokers, as compared to people who never smoked. Smokers also recorded more trips to the emergency room and general hospitalizations during that year. Article