Americans least able to afford health care are the heaviest smokers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Almost one-third of Americans who have not had enough money to pay for health care and/or medicine in the past 12 months are smokers, according to the October 2011 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The percentage of smokers is cut in half (14.2%) when it comes to the population that can afford to pay for health care and/or medicine in the past 12 months. Of the Americans without a personal doctor, 27.5% smoke.
“As the economic burden of smoking continues to greatly affect the U.S. healthcare system and the productivity of our businesses and communities, more employers are turning to mandates and incentives to get their employees to curb their nicotine addiction,” stated Ben Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and CEO. “The October WBI smoking and basic access numbers reveal an alarming disparity in the U.S. population, and show an immediate need for individuals to take steps to improve their own well-being, proactively controlling these costs."
October data also revealed that of the 20% of Americans that did not have enough money to buy food within the past 12 months, 34.9% are smokers. The percentage of Americans who smoke drops drastically down to 13.8% for those who can afford to buy food. The same pattern is observed when looking at those who did/did not have enough money to provide adequate shelter in the past 12 months.