How does smoking cigarettes affect the United States economy?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The smoking of cigarettes has a mixed effect on the economy of the United States.  It helps it in some ways, but harms it in others.

In a sense, the smoking of cigarettes is harmful to the US economy.  Cigarette smoking, of course, leads to various health problems, some of which can be quite serious.  This affects the economy in two ways.  First, it leads to health care costs for whoever is providing insurance for the smoker.  This means that, for example, companies must pay more in health care costs rather than using their money to invest and expand their company.   Second, a person who is ill from smoking will be less productive.  They will miss work more often and will not produce.  If they die early, they will, of course, no longer contribute to the economy. 

However, there are ways in which smoking cigarettes helps the US economy.  First, there is cigarette production.  Farmers get money for growing tobacco.  Cigarette companies make the cigarettes and pay marketers and distributors.  Second, there are the physicians who treat the people with the smoking-related illnesses.  They benefit, at least financially, from smoking.

In these ways, smoking helps and hurts the US economy. 

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