Mississippi Medicaid Costs Attributable to Tobacco

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

The negative effects of tobacco usage on health have been well studied, and there is a growing body of evidence documenting the increased risk for specific diseases associated with tobacco use. This higher risk calculates into greater health care costs for treating these diseases, much of which is paid by public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Center for Mississippi Health Policy commissioned researchers with The Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to review Mississippi Medicaid claims data and quantify the financial impact of tobacco use on Mississippi’s Medicaid program. To identify the costs that could be attributable to smoking, Hilltop used a method for calculating a smoking attributable fraction that accounts for the fact that tobacco impacts multiple body systems.



  • When all categories of expenditures were totaled, the estimated direct and indirect cost of tobacco-related illness to Mississippi Medicaid was $388 million in 2016 and $396 million in 2017.


Many state have sought to reduce both the financial and health impacts of tobacco by implementing programs and policies to prevent smoking or assist smokers to quit, particularly among Medicaid enrollees. Some of the most common approaches include the following:

  • Tobacco Cessation Support and Coverage
  • Smoke-free Ordinances and Laws
  • Tobacco Tax Increases
  • Raising the Minimum Legal Age to Purchase Tobacco to 21

The Center’s Issue Brief summarizes the study methodology and elaborates on these policy considerations.  Detailed findings from the study and explanation of the methodology can be found in the complete Hilltop Institute Report.


Copies of the Issue Brief can be downloaded HERE.  Copies of the complete Hilltop Institute Report can be downloaded HERE.  Printed copies of the Issue Brief are available by contacting the Center for Mississippi Health Policy at 601-709-2133 or by e-mail at info@mshealthpolicy.com.