The High Cost of Smoking

Most people quit smoking because of the damage it does to their health. But if you need an extra reason to kick the habit, consider that smoking could be costing you as much as $10,000 a year.

When people consider the cost of smoking, they usually focus on the cost of the cigarettes alone. Someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, for instance, can spend up to $1,825 a year. But this is only the beginning.

Add to that figure the cost of extra over-the-counter and prescription medications for illnesses related to smoking. Add in the cost of more expensive health and life insurance premiums. You'll also spend more on copays because of more frequent doctor visits. And don’t forget increased dental expenses and cleaning bills.

High cost to health

Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking-related illnesses cause nearly one of every five deaths each year in the United States.

According to the CDC:

  • Smoking causes about 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in women and almost 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in men.

  • Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.

  • Smoking doubles a person’s risk for stroke.

  • Smoking may increase by 10 times your risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease.   

  • Smokers are at greater risk for complications after surgery. These include infections and pneumonia.

Because of their increased health problems, smokers go to the doctor more often. They need more extensive medical tests and treatments, have more surgeries, spend more time in the hospital, and take more medications than nonsmokers.

Even with health insurance, smokers spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more in deductibles and out-of-pocket health care costs per year than nonsmokers.

In fact, one study on the costs of smoking calculates that it costs a 24-year-old $86,000 to $183,000 over a lifetime, in addition to the cost of cigarettes, because of higher medical costs and other factors.

Give it up

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it can be done. If you don't quit, over time, the health and financial benefits will keep growing. For access to free quit-smoking help, visit the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco.

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