Recession could help smokers quit

A smoker lights a pipe filled with cigarettes in a quitting demonstration.

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: Philip Morris International releases earnings this morning. Yesterday the company teamed up with a Swedish manufacturer to market smokeless tobacco products. Philip Morris is worried cigarette sales could go up in smoke during this downturn. Marketplace's Dan Grech has more.


Dan Grech: You might think the stress of a bad economy would lead more people to smoke. But that's not been the case.

Stanton Glantz: Historically in bad economic times people actually smoke less.

That's Stanton Glantz. He's a professor of medicine with the University of California San Francisco.

During the Great Depression, smoking in the U.S. dropped by 20 percent. Glantz says we'll likely see a similar drop during the current recession.

Glantz: People have less money to throw around, and the price keeps going up, and they want to quit anyway. All of those factors are going to pile up and help people quit smoking.

The economic stimulus bill going through the Senate initially included $75 million for smoking cessation programs. But Republicans criticized the funding, and it was stripped out earlier this week.

Glantz says studies have show that anti-smoking programs quickly pay for themselves through lower health care costs.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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