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Tobacco Firm's Study Has Critics Fuming

Report says nations reap economic benefit from smokers' early deaths; anti-smoking organizations are aghast

It's well known that smoking and its attendant health problems cost countries millions of dollars every year. But a new study that puts a positive spin on smoking's cost to society is drawing fire.

That's because the controversial study, commissioned by cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris Cos., claims that smoking is good for nations in a number of ways. For example, the study says, the Czech Republic saved $30 million in 1999 by not having to feed, clothe, house or pay government pensions to citizens killed by smoking, says this news service story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A Philip Morris spokesman says the study was intended as a "classical economic study." But detractors -- like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids -- see the conclusion as repugnant, the story says.

The American Cancer Society calls smoking "the most preventable cause of death" in the United States and offers lots of information on how to quit.

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