The Health Costs of Smoking in Albania [Policy Brief]

This Policy Brief was written by Development Solutions Associates in Albania. The policy brief assesses the health costs of smoking by estimating smoking-attributable household health expenditures and the direct costs of select smoking-related diseases for hospitals and the health system. The results show that annual out-of-pocket spending on tobacco-related healthcare for households is nearly ALL 223.3 million, including ALL 169.3 million drug-related expenses. Households in central and Southern regions, as well as those in urban areas tend to have higher health costs relative to those in the Northern region and rural area. The researchers also find that smoking-attributable hospitalization costs account for nearly 30% of total costs, and respiratory diseases, specifically, account for 15% of the total (ALL 203.4 million). Within the public health insurance system, smoking-attributable costs equate to ALL 11.2 billion, or 22% of total expenses. Data to analyze indirect costs was unavailable, although a survey conducted by the authors show that tobacco-related illnesses are a key factor in missing work, thus reducing productivity. The brief concludes with recommendations to strength price and non-price tobacco control policies to reduce these substantial costs, both for households and the government.

The corresponding Report can be found here.