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Health report: Mass. struggling with illicit drugs

Associated Press Published: November 13, 2012

Cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco products account for about one-third of all cancer deaths in the state, according to the report.

In 2011, the state Department of Public Health estimated the health care costs attributable to tobacco use — including hospital care — at about $4.3 billion annually, plus $1 billion or more in lost productivity, according to the report.

The report also found asthma rates are higher in Massachusetts than in the U.S. on average.

The report pointed to the American Lung Association, which has estimated there were more than 524,000 cases of adult asthma and more than 127,000 cases of pediatric asthma in Massachusetts in 2010.

Combined with cases of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, the association concluded that 15 percent of the state's population had breathing difficulties associated with lung disease.

The new report also included information on AIDS.

The number of people living with HIV and AIDS in Massachusetts continues to grow each year as diagnoses of new infections exceed the number of deaths among people with the disease.

As of December 31, 2011, there were 18,170 people living with HIV or AIDS who were diagnosed in Massachusetts. More than 2,100 Massachusetts residents with HIV or AIDS were first diagnosed in another state.

State health officials estimate 8,000 others may be infected, but either do not realize it or have not reported it.