Total Cost of Ownership in Using Tobacco

Smokers know how much it costs to buy cigarettes.  But have tobacco users really estimated their total cost of ownership to use tobacco?  Total cost of ownership, or TCO, is an estimate of the direct and indirect cost of a product.   When it comes to tobacco there are many costs that the users may not have considered.

First, the actual cost of the product.  Depending on where you live, a pack of premium brand of cigarettes, such as Marlboros Reds, can cost from over $12 in New York (the highest amount), over $6 in Florida, and just under $5 in West Virginia (one of the lowest)   If you are a pack-a-day smoker and purchase a pack at a time, it will cost you $4,380 (using $12/pack) in New York City, $2,190 in Florida, and $1,825 in West Virginia per year.   That is a lot of money to spend on a product you will burn up.

Working a 40 hour work week at minimum wage ($7.25) in New York will only gross you $290/week before taxes and approximately $240 (or less depending on where in NY you live) after taxes.  That $84 a week habit has now cost you approximately 35% of your weekly take home pay.   The $156 you have left over won’t go far for the other necessities you need to live on, such as food, clothes and health care costs.  If you miss work because of illness caused by smoking, your take home pay is even less.  

Smoking and tobacco use may also limit the jobs or positions available to you.  More places of business are going tobacco-free such as hospitals and school campuses.  Business are increasing life and health insurance costs for employees who use tobacco, and many conduct random drug tests to check for tobacco use.  Using tobacco may limit or lower your income during your lifetime as businesses evaluate the cost and productivity in hiring a tobacco user.  Your quality of health will also decrease as you age, but you don’t have to be “middle age” for those problems to begin.  Health issues, such as respiratory illnesses, cancer, or heart problems due to tobacco use can strike anyone at any age. 

These are just part of the total cost of ownership in using tobacco.  All the years you pay the tobacco industry to make you sick, you end up with a decreased income, poor health and a shorter life expectancy.   Only the tobacco industry comes out ahead.  Who do you think wins?

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