The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) on March 15 shared the results of 20 years of tobacco prevention and control policies and programs with an estimated total savings of $1 billion in health care costs to the state of Hawaii. By reducing the number of youth, adult, and pregnant smokers over the past two decades, Hawaii saved $1 billion from 2000 to 2017. The analysis, conducted by DOH, showed $6.34 in direct health care costs was saved for every dollar spent on tobacco prevention.
hero_image_alt_text===Image with words saying "estimated adult savings $806.3, $1.0 Billion total Hawai'i Healthcare"
thumbnail_alt_text===Image with words saying "estimated adult savings $806.3, $1.0 Billion total Hawai'i Healthcare"
The American Heart Association and its advocates have played a key role in achieving those advancements and healthcare savings, helping to pass many of the state and county tobacco control laws that have benefited adults and children in the state. The AHA was honored by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii in 2006 as its “Advocacy Organization of the Year” for its efforts in spearheading the passage of the state’s smoke-free air law, which helped set the foundation for many of the tobacco-prevention laws that followed. AHA advocates continue to press for new policies to further reduce the toll that tobacco has on health in Hawaii.
In addition to illustrating the effectiveness of state and local tobacco control programs and policies, the DOH data illustrates the value investing in disease prevention efforts like those led by the AHA.