Usually, if you ponder the cost of smoking, you consider the price of a pack of cigarettes or a new e-cigarette pod. Beyond the day-to-day expenses, there are a ton of hidden costs of smoking. Smoking costs you time, productivity, higher insurance premiums and lost opportunities to invest. The habit also negatively affects your health, appearance, and career. Not convinced?
Here is a detailed breakdown of the cost of smoking.
Cost of Smoking:
The average cost of cigarettes is $6.28 per pack of 20 cigarettes. This cost can vary significantly by state. In Connecticut and New York, they are over $10.00 each due to higher state taxes. The average smoker goes through 10 to 20 cigarettes a day. At this rate, a smoker in Connecticut could spend from $35 to $70 per week.
The prices had steadily increased since 1970 when the government began taxing tobacco products to reduce consumption. To combat this, tobacco companies spent over $6,000,000,000, giving price discounts to cigarette retailers as part of their marketing campaigns. All this ultimately comes out of smokers pockets.
Cost of Vaping
Vaping and e-cigarettes have been considered a more attractive alternative to smoking. Vaping is supposed to reduce the side effects and costs involved with cigarettes. Sales in the United States has surpassed $2,000,000,000 for e-cigarettes while online global sales about $650,000,000. Vaping has been increasingly popular among teens where they spend as much as $1,000 annually to maintain the habit.
The cost of vaping pods varies greatly. You can receive four vaping pods for less than $20, which is the equivalent of five packs of cigarettes. Previous smokers and non-smokers both use vaping methods, possibly to their detriment. There have been over 800 cases of lung injury in 2019 related to vaping and e-cigarettes.
Additional Alcohol Costs
Alcohol use and smoking tend to be highly related, with scientists believing the two substances increase the effects of each other. Smokers are more likely to drink alcoholic beverages, and alcoholics are more likely to smoke while drinking. The current estimate is 1% of income is spent on alcohol on average. So, if you are the average American with a $40,000 a year income, you would spend $400 or more in additional alcohol related to your smoking activity.
The most noticeable side effects of smoking are deep wrinkles, yellow teeth, burned fingers, and smoky hair. A smoker will spend at least twice as much as a non-smoker to combat these less desirable consequences. Smokers pay more for special toothpaste and $120 more annually on expensive dental procedures like whitening. They also consume more mouthwash, gum, and mints to freshen their breath than non-smokers.
Cigarette smoke permeates everything nearby. This trait is another negative side effect beyond secondhand smoke. Part of the allure with e-cigarettes was that there was no lingering scent associated with vaping, but that has proven to be false. There are Reddit threads dedicated to stories of complaints, and teens caught vaping because their families and coworkers could smell the odor.
Smokers of all kinds invest in perfume, cologne, or body sprays to minimize the scent. They also invest heavily in odor-removing products such as air freshener for their vehicles and furniture. The odor associated with smoking can be also result in increased travel and living costs. Hotels, Car rental companies, and property managers charge a fee for smoking inside a room, car, or apartment because the scent is so hard to remove.
Higher Beauty Costs & Professional Risks
Some smokers are turning to professional procedures such as Botox and fillers to decrease wrinkles called “smokers’ lines.” The products are supposed to fill in space around the mouth caused by puckering and the changes in facial muscles due to routine smoking. This treatment is not permanent but may have negative consequences for months. Botox can dull the nerves and affect talking, eating, drinking, and smiling if done improperly near the mouth.
This numbness may look similar to a mild stroke and can cause a loss in wages if you need to speak or maintain a look for your career. There are over 6,000 companies that refuse to hire smokers. And since keeping a job is essential for most people, smoking could have serious professional consequences. Even with a job, smokers will earn about 4% to 11% less than non-smokers. This is partly due to lost productivity due to smoking breaks.
The CDC estimates that smoking costs the country $300,000,000,000 in productivity and medical expenses. As smoking related illnesses increase, smokers may not be eligible for individual coverage. Also, private health insurance premiums are much higher for smokers than insurance offered through an employer-sponsored plan or another program. Most health insurance questionnaires asks if you are a smoker to ascertain your potential risk. Risky behavior is higher for smokers based on calculations that the companies use, partly due to the increased alcohol use that goes with smoking.
Higher Health Insurance Costs
Health insurance premiums for a smoker will be around 20% more than for a non-smoker. Insurance companies assume they are at higher risk for illness. Smokers have more medical visits than an otherwise healthy person. Also, smokers may have more medications resulting in more claims.
Furthermore, smoking increases the chances of lung cancer by 1,500% to 3,000%. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are all expensive treatment options for lung cancer and can cost insurance companies addition expense. The companies pass these costs on to the consumers, namely smokers, to recover their losses. You may be able to reduce your premiums with a supervised program to stop smoking.
Higher Life Insurance Costs
Life insurance premiums will also be higher for the same reasons. The riskier the lifestyle, the higher the premium. An experiment estimated that smokers would pay over $1,000 more annually for life insurance than non-smokers. Given the increase of e-cigarette health issues, users may see an increase in their premiums or changes to the questionnaire regarding use or exposure.
What is maybe less prevalent, thanks to laws regarding smoking indoors, is secondhand smoke. However, even a little bit can severely increase heart and lung complications. Smoking around family and friends can cause health issues for them, further raising medical costs. Common smoking-related illnesses are emphysema, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, better known as COPD, and heart disease.
Massive Retirement Opportunity Costs
With all the money spent and income lost, there are fewer funds available to invest for retirement. Lower incomes result in smaller 401(k) contributions and lower potential 401(k) employer matches. Also, there are smaller contributions to social security. This is not including the opportunity cost of almost $150 per month that could be invested in an individual retirement account or brokerage account. There are years and years of interest and gains lost with each pack or pod purchased. In sum, smokers could lose millions over their lifetime.
The main conclusion here is: if you’re a smoker, quit. The cost of smoking is simply too much.
Learn more at www.costofsmoking.com.