I don’t want to sound preachy about this. I don’t have anything against smokers. But if you look at the facts, the numbers add up against the habit.
Let me say, right from the start, that I know how difficult it is to quit. I smoked two packs a day for fifteen years. Quitting was damned near impossible. Withdrawal was horrible. But still, smoking costs you a lot of money.
The Cost of a Pack of Smokes
The cost of a pack of cigarettes alone is enough to keep you in debt. The average cost per pack in the United States is $5.51. One state-by-state study shows that the lowest cost per pack in the United States is in Kentucky at $4.96. The three highest states are New York, Illinois and Hawaii.
In those states, cigarettes will cost you, according to the study, $14.50, $11.59 and $ 9.68 per pack respectively.
If you smoke one pack a day, the average annual direct cost of cigarettes is $2,011.15. If you have the bad luck to be addicted in New York, you could be spending $5,292.50 to satisfy your cravings. The annual cost in Illinois is $4,230.35, in Hawaii it is $3,533.20 and in Kentucky you are only paying $1,810.40. Add up the numbers in any part of the world and the conclusion is the same, smoking costs you a lot of money.
Keep in mind, these costs are for a pack a day habit. You need to double these if you are a two pack a day smoker. If you smoke more than that, and reside in New York, you will need to take out a loan from the bank just to pay for you smokes.
There are many other costs related to smoking besides just the cost of the cigarettes.
How Smoking Costs You Money Healthwise
Consider, for instance, that smoking causes your health care costs to be higher. This applies not just to health insurance rates, but to you being sick more often because your immune system is compromised. The smoker will be paying more for over the counter cold remedies without even realizing that their cold or flu is smoking related.
Second hand smoke is also likely to impact the health of those living with you, particularly your children. You may only see an immediate manifestation in things like their having more colds. But those colds still cost money to treat. This does not even consider the long term health care costs for your loved ones of breathing in your smoke.
As I mentioned earlier, I smoked two packs a day for 15 years. When I quit, I almost immediately felt better and more energetic. That surge in energy can be put to use being productive at work, in a side job or just in pursuing your passion. Smoking carried an opportunity cost in that it keeps you from being more energetic and thus more productive.
Smoke Stinks and Goes Everywhere
Smoke smells bad. That bad smells gets into your clothing, your carpet, your furniture, even into your pets hair. You have to clean all of these things to get the smell out. Cleaning costs money.
Further, when you go to sell your things, and this includes your home, car, furniture and electronics, they will fetch a lower price than if they had not had smoke around them.
A study done by San Diego State University in 2008 showed that the asking price for a smoker’s car was about 9% lower than for a comparable non-smokers vehicle. For a $15,000 car, that represents a loss of $1,400 for the smoker.
Smelling like an ash tray costs money!
Other Smoking Related Costs
There are still more costs to smoking.
- Smokers pay an additional 50% to 100% more for life insurance.
- Smokers are less likely to be hired for jobs. The employers don’t want to deal with increased health insurance costs and assume that the prospective employee will be less productive because of all those cigarette breaks.
- It costs money to clean the yellow stains off of your teeth, and,
- Property damage from burn marks to furniture, cars and carpets all have to be repaired.
As I said in the beginning, I have nothing against smokers. If you want to smoke, that is your right. But when you put the costs into the budget that we suggested you develop, you have to have serious pause.
I hate to end like this, but the old American Cancer Society slogan comes strongly to mind. How does it go, “if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit”. I’m not minimizing the difficulty of quitting. But maybe it will help if you think of all the money you will save.