While smoking and its associated diseases are costly to the country and to the Health Ministry every year, tax collection does not cover even 30% of that annual expense.
According to an investigation by the Institute of Clinical and Sanitary Effectiveness (IECS) of Argentina and the Ministry of Health, with the participation of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), smoking generates an annual direct cost of 129 billion colones, equivalent to 0.47% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country and annual 4.8% of all public spending in annual health.
However, tax collection from the sale of cigarettes is around 33.7 billion colones per year, only 30% of the direct costs caused by smoking in the health system.
In 2014, the cost of treating diseases associated with tobacco consumption exceeded 91 million colones for the CCSS.
Moreover, smoking is responsible for 12% of all deaths that occur in Costa Rica. On average, a smoker loses 6 year of their life, while a former smoker loses 3 years.
According to the study, raising the price of cigarettes is one of the most effective measures to combat tobacco consumption. For example, an increase of 10% of the price of cigarettes could to avoid:
1,369 heart diseases
145 new cancer cases in a year
157 cardiovascular events in 10 years.
The research analyzed data from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Paraguay and Uruguay by the end of 2016.