Economic Burden of Smoking in Iran: A Prevalence-Based Annual Cost Approach

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Research Center for Environmental Determinants of Health, Kermanshah University of Medical sciences, Kermanshah, Iran.

2 School of Health Administration, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

3 Department of Health Promotion, Faculty of Health, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran.

4 Department of Health Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Objectives: The burden of smoking on the health system and society is significant. The current study aimed to estimate the annual direct and indirect costs of smoking in Iran for the year 2014. Methods: A prevalence-based disease-specific approach was used to determine costs associated with the three most common smoking-related diseases: lung cancer (LC), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and ischaemic heart disease (IHD). Data on healthcare utilization were obtained from an original survey, hospital records and questionnaires. The number of deaths was extracted from the global burden diseases study (GBD). The human capital approach was applied to estimate the costs of morbidity and mortality due to smoking-related diseases, classified as direct (hospitalization, outpatients and non-medical costs) and indirect (mortality and morbidity). Results: The total economic cost of the three most common smoking-attributable diseases in Iran was US$1.46 billion in 2014, including US$1.05 billion (71.7%) in indirect and US$0.41 billion (28.3%) in direct costs. Direct costs of the three smoking-related diseases accounted for 1.6% of total healthcare expenditures and total costs were about 0.26% of Iran’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014. Conclusions: Our study indicated that smoking places a substantial economic burden on Iranian society. Therefore, sustained smoking cessation interventions and tobacco control policies are required to reduce the magnitude and extent of smoking-attributable costs in Iran.


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