Researchers awarded prestigious prize

Dr. James Feehan, Department of Economics, along with co-authors Dr. Glenn W. Harrison, Department of Economics, University of South Carolina, Alison C. Edwards, medical researcher, Division of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, and Dr. Jorge Segovia, Faculty of Medicine, were awarded the John Vanderkamp Prize for their paper, Cigarette Smoking and the Cost of Hospital and Physician Care, which appeared in the March 2003 issue of Canadian Public Policy. The Vanderkamp Prize is awarded by the Canadian Economics Association for the best paper in that journal.

“Smoking is widely known to affect health adversely. The consequent cost to the publicly-funded Canadian health care system is a matter of considerable policy interest,” said Dr. Feehan. “We considered two core elements of health care: hospitals and physicians for our research. This study, unlike previous Canadian studies, used the econometric approach to assess these costs.

“We used the 1995 Newfoundland Adult Health Survey which covered thousands of individuals, providing a snapshot of their socio-demographic, economic and health characteristics and was linked to the respondents' medical utilization records over a seven-year period. It estimated that over 12 per cent of hospital utilization and approximately 7 per cent of visits to physicians are attributable to smoking. The associated annual monetary costs are considerable, approximately $110 to $140 per capita.”

Canadian Public Policy is Canada 's foremost journal examining economic and social policy. The aim of the journal is to stimulate research and discussion of public policy problems in Canada. It is directed at a wide readership including decision-makers and advisers in business organizations and governments, and policy researchers in private institutions and universities.

The editor of Canadian Public Policy announced the winners of the John Vanderkamp Prize in Toronto on June 5, 2004, at the annual meetings of the Canadian Economics Association.

The Vanderkamp Prize is awarded annually. The recipient receives $1,000. A multidisciplinary panel selects the winning paper. The authors have donated the monetary award to the Dr. Jorge Segovia Scholarship Fund.