updated 6/30/2005 6:57:22 PM ET 2005-06-30T22:57:22

Early deaths caused by smoking cost the nation about $92 billion a year in lost productivity between 1997 and 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

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Smoking reduces life expectancy an average of about 14 years by way of lung cancer, heart disease other illnesses, according to the CDC.

In the study, “lost productivity” meant lost wages. The CDC gave no overall estimate of the smoking-related health-care costs over the same five-year period, but estimated them at $75.5 billion in 1998 alone.

The report also found that 438,000 people died each year between 1997 and 2001 because of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. That compares with 440,000 a year between 1995 and 1999.

“Cigarette smoking continues to impose substantial health and financial costs on individuals and society,” CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said. “We’ve made good progress in reducing the number of people who smoke, but we have much more work to do.”

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