Calculating the 'Big Kill'
University of Louisville
Regulation, Vol. 30, No. 4, Winter 2007-2008
For two decades, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has regularly estimated the deaths, years of life lost, medical expenditures, and productivity losses from cigarette smoking. But how accurate is the underlying CDC estimate of smoking-related deaths? The specifics of the agency's calculations are shrouded in secrecy, yet its estimates are rarely disputed. This article, which is based on my research with Philip Cole, attempts to demystify the secretive CDC process. We provide alternative estimates and propose a dramatic change in how the CDC evaluates the impact of smoking on American society.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: smoking, kill rates, data collection, estimating deaths, current smokers, former smokers, CDC, mortality rates, NHIS, American Cancer Society, transparency
JEL Classification: C80, C89, I12, I18
Date posted: February 13, 2008
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