The cost of a pack of cigarettes a day may not seem like a lot of money, but before you shell out another dollar on tobacco, you need to look at the big picture. That $6 pack of tobacco could end up costing you millions. Yes, you read that right, MILLIONS. Wallethub has published their latest numbers for the “economic and societal costs of smoking-related issues” and the numbers are “staggering.” Depending on where you live, your total cost to smoke could be as low as $1.23 million (Louisiana) or as high as $2.45 million (New York) over a smoker’s lifetime.
The largest portion of this includes the “financial opportunity cost,” or the “calculated amount of return a person would have earned by instead investing that money in the stock market over the same period.” Granted, not everyone would take their tobacco money and invest it, but by not smoking, you would have a greater income, lower health care costs and other lower costs, such as homeowner’s insurance credits, and those amounts do add up over time.
Calculations for the chart were determined by assuming “an adult smokes one pack of cigarettes a day beginning at age 18” (legal purchase age in the U.S.). Since the average age for a smoker to die is 69 years, that would allow 51 years to smoke. So the out-of-pocket costs were determined by taking the average cost of a pack of cigarettes and multiplying “that figure by the total number of days in 51 years” or 18,615 days.
Using the information above, a smoker in Missouri, where cigarettes average $4.55/pack, will spend about $84,754 (the lowest), while a New York smoker will spend more than double that amount, or about $187,379 as cigarettes cost on average $10.06/pack (the highest). Of course, if the chart included smokers in New York City, you would see they pay about $15/pack and would have an out-of-pocket cost of roughly $279K. Seeing how much comes out of your pocket just on tobacco should make you want to put your wallet away for good.
If the cost of cigarettes is not enough to make you quit, wait until you see the health care costs, which “are one of the biggest financial detriments caused by tobacco use.” Kentucky smokers had the lowest health-care costs at $111,475 over a lifetime, while Massachusetts had the highest at $269,447.
Let’s not forget the income loss you will experience as a smoker. This loss is due to being absent, “workplace bias or lower productivity due to smoking-induced health problems.” Smokers in Mississippi can expect to lose $161,013, while those in Maryland can see a loss of $302,528. Also, according to the data, “smokers earn 20% less than nonsmokers,” something else to keep in mind regarding your habit.
“Other costs per smoker” includes the loss of homeowner credits, and the “cost of victims of secondhand-smoke exposure.”
The article does a great job in showing smokers the big picture of the cost of smoking. However, most adult smokers in the U.S. started smoking before 18, and this early start means earlier health damage, which means your life expectancy could be cut shorter than the age listed in the article. The article also doesn’t take into consideration those smokers who go through more than one pack a day. However, looking at the numbers, it does explain why smokers don’t have a lot of money in their pockets.
Click HERE for the entire article by Wallethub.