Have you ever used one of those “cost of smoking” calculators? You put in the amount of cigarettes you smoke each day and the amount you pay per pack, and the calculator will tell you how much it is costing you to smoke by week, month or year. The smoking calculator linked above will even show you the amount of tar going into your lungs every year…a great visual for students. The Tobacco Free Florida calculator asks you for basic information then calculates the number of years smoking, what you have already spent for cigarettes, and how much it will cost you if you keep smoking. Their calculator also shows you what you could buy if you quit today. The calculators are great, but they don’t give you the entire picture.
According to the financial site WalletHub, not only do you need to take into account the price of the cigarettes, but what they are costing you in terms of “health care costs, income loss, as well as other costs like higher insurance premiums or denied insurance claims.” WalletHub “gauged the financial cost of smoking by calculating the potential monetary losses…health care expenditures, income losses and other costs.” Monetary losses ranged from $1,097,690 over a lifetime of smoking for those living in South Carolina to $2,032,916 for those living in Alaska. The majority of that amount is from the actual cost of tobacco. Florida comes in at #26 (out of 51) with $1,372,374.
The health care cost per smoker was figured by taking the state-level annual health care costs data from the Centers for Disease Control and dividing it by the total number of adult smokers in each state. Those numbers ranged from $106,863 in Arkansas to $239,866 in Connecticut.
Smokers will have more loss of income either from illness from tobacco use, from lower productivity due to their smoking, or because they have lower paying jobs because of their habit. These amounts range from $155,395 for smokers in Mississippi to $295,168 for smokers in Maryland.
Smokers will also incur higher health insurance premiums, and higher homeowner insurance because of their smoking habit. While their actual insurance premium may not be higher, they won’t qualify for credits given to non-smokers. Another income loss area for a smoker is their residence. If a homeowner is a smoker and he/she smokes in their residence, when it comes time to sell, that residence will sell at a lower amount compared to a comparable smoke-free home. And what about the non-smokers living in a smoking household? They will incur health care costs from their exposure to secondhand smoke. In the category of “other costs per smoker,” the amounts ranged from $7,577 in West Virginia to a high of $17,212 in Florida.
The financial hardships of smoking hit those hardest who have the most to lose from smoking such as the unemployed, underemployed and the low-income earning population. You know smoking isn’t good for your health, but it isn’t good for your wallet either.
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