Health care costs higher for smokers after surgery

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A new study shows that health care costs in the first year after an inpatient surgical procedure are higher for former and current smokers compared with those who never smoked.

The study involved patients who had surgery at Mayo Clinic hospitals between April 2008 and December 2009. Researchers found that costs for the initial surgical hospitalization did not differ between people who never smoked and current or former smokers, but costs in the year after the surgery were an estimated $400 higher for current smokers and approximately $273 higher for former smokers.

“These excess costs add an estimated $17 billion annually to direct medical costs in the United States,” David O. Warner, MD, study author at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues were quoted as saying.

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