In Vermont the annual direct costs to the economy attributable to smoking were in excess of $652 million, including workplace productivity losses of $138 million, premature death losses of approximately $221 million, and direct medical expenditures of $293 million, according to a new study by the American Lung Association.While the retail price of a pack of cigarettes in Vermont is on average $6.54 ($5.60 New Hampshire; $7.89 New York; $7.23 Massachusetts), the combined medical costs and productivity losses attributable to each pack of cigarettes sold are approximately $24.52 per pack of cigarettes. The ratio of benefits to cost varies from $0.90 to $2.62 saved per dollar spent on smoking cessation programs, depending upon the type of intervention. Nicotine replacement therapies, generic bupropion and varenicline showed substantial benefits to costs from the societal perspective across the sensitivity ranges used for treatment effectiveness. Only brand name bupropion did not have a positive benefits to cost ratio at the low end of the range.The American Lung Association concludes that for most smoking cessation treatments, the benefits of smoking cessation programs statewide greatly outweigh the cost to implement them. The study was conducted by Pennsylvania State University. The report’s Executive Summary says in part:”Cigarette smoking is the single leading cause of preventable disease and preventable death in the United States (US), leading to more than 400,000 deaths annually. The CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have both issued guidelines on smoking cessation to help people to quit smoking that include: access to counseling, access to all FDA-approved over-the-counter and prescription medications; multiple quit attempts; and reduced or eliminated co-pays. However, access to these aids is limited since many payers do not cover these treatments. The objective of this study was to determine whether the cost of making such smoking cessation programs available at the state level could be justified by the benefits.”We performed a cost-benefit analysis of access to smoking cessation programs using a societal perspective using state specific data. Smoking cessation programs based on three treatment alternatives were studied: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline. Each approach was evaluated with and without individual counseling. Benefits were estimated as reductions in medical expenditures, premature deaths and increased workplace productivity. Costs were estimated as direct cost of the smoking cessation programs, the lost tax revenue to the public sector and the lost revenue to retailers and distributors, since smokers who quit will no longer purchase cigarettes. Other model parameters included how many smokers take advantage of the programs and the programs’ effectiveness in helping smokers to quit. The cost-benefit model was parameterized using data from CDC, and various national surveys, including the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Survey and the Current Population Survey.”Source: American Lung Association. 9.16.2010 Detailed results and the full report can be found here: REPORT.
While the departure of goal-scoring dynamos Nick Van Sicklen and Jed Hohlbein may have hampered the offense of the 2005 Wisconsin men’s soccer team, the team’s defensive core only grew stronger in a year’s time.With four incoming recruits joining four returning letter-winners in the back, the defensive outlook looks improved for a Wisconsin team that recorded only one shutout last season.“It all starts with our captain, all-Big Ten central defender Aaron Hohlbein,” head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “I think everybody is a better player because of Aaron’s presence back there. I also think there has been some great improvement by some of the other guys — Hamid Afsari, for example, has done very well. Both Andy Miller and Zack Lambo have also done a good job so far and both played great over the first weekend.”Not only did freshman standouts Lambo and Miller successfully work their way into the starting lineups this past weekend at the Big Toe Invitational, but they also played important roles in securing 2-1 victories in both matches.Against UNLV, Lambo set-up the team’s first goal of the 2005 campaign with a free kick from the left flank. Lambo’s cross found Hohlbein on the back post, whose header brought the Badgers back into the game.In the victory over Drake, it was Lambo assisting again, this time serving in the ball that produced the game-winning goal. Only 46 seconds into overtime, Lambo picked out junior forward Reid Johnson whose flick-on found sophomore Sho Fujita directly in front of the net.“I think Zack brings a very polished left foot,” Rohrman said. “He served a great ball to Hohlbein for the goal on Friday to get us going, and he also served the ball to Reid (Johnson) in overtime allowing us to win the Drake game. His ability to play well in the flow of play and also on set pieces is a pretty nice weapon to have.”Lambo, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound defender from Crystal Lake, Ill., has adapted well to the college game early on, but admits that concentration and focus are aspects of his game he must continue to improve.“The general pace of the game has been the main transition from high school,” Lambo said. “You have to know where you’re going to play the ball before you get it, so the first touch is so important. Everybody is bigger and has a little more pace to them, so it’s been tough. But, it’s encouraging because it’s making me a better player.”Along with Lambo, Miller has made great strides with the team, playing stellar defense in his first career start against Drake. The Barrington, Ill., native is a physical defender for his size (5-foot-10, 150 pounds), but, like Lambo, is still adjusting to the speed of the college game.“Coming in as a freshman, you’re obviously not as developed as some of the other guys,” Miller said. “Dealing with bigger and faster players will probably be the most difficult change. The play is a lot faster too — a hundred times faster than high school.”As Rohrman employs his new freshman talents, he can also enjoy the luxury of having veteran defenders, such as Afsari and reserve Andrew Cardona, available on his roster. “Andrew (Cardona) is a seasoned veteran with the team,” Rohrman said. “He played some key roles for us the first couple of years and right now he is in a bit of a support position for us. He’s done a great job in what we’ve asked him to do and I don’t doubt that Andrew will certainly get on the field — it’s just going to be a matter of where and when.”When the Badgers head to Milwaukee for the Panther Classic next weekend, the young men from Illinois, Lambo and Miller, will most likely be on the pitch, fighting for a win. The influx of talent will provide Rohrman with plenty of room for tinkering with the lineup this weekend and throughout the season.“We’re always looking to tweak and adjust things so that we can be sure we’re putting the 11 on the field that will work best for us going into each game,” Rohrman said. “We changed things from Friday to Sunday this past weekend and I felt they were good adjustments. Going into this next Friday, we’re going to look at a few different things back there and possibly make a few more adjustments.”