Published on November 17, 2016

The Real Cost of Smoking

Cost of Smoking.

Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. To help increase awareness, we celebrate the Great American Smokeout event. Held every year on the third Thursday of November, the Great American Smokeout is a tradition that was started in the 1970s  to encourage those who smoke tobacco to quit for one day.

Many of us are familiar with the numerous negative health effects smoking tobacco can lead to such as heart disease, lung cancer, gum disease, increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, premature aging and more. Many, however, do not consider the financial costs cigarettes can take on one’s personal fiances as well as health care costs.

The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the U.S. is $5.51. The average cost in North Carolina is $5.45. This number may not look like much, but it can quickly add up. The chart below demonstrates how these costs can add up in just one year.

Number of Packs per day Total amount spent in a Year
1 $2,011
2 $4,022
3 $6,033

Although these figures may seem like large amounts, they are relatively small compared to the amount of  money that is spent by smokers who have been using tobacco for ten years or more.

Number of Years Amount Spent
10 years $17,520
20 years $35,040
30 years $52,560
40 years $70,080

Not only does smoking place a significant financial burden on the smoker, but it also places one on the health care systems that treat complications from smoking. In 2014, the health related cost from smoking tobacco in the United States costs more than $300 billion. In the workplace smoking can cost employees an excess of $2,056 annually in health care costs. Smokers generally pay health care premiums that are anywhere from 15% to 20% higher than the health care premiums of non-smokers. The sooner you quit smoking the better not only for your health but also for the cost of your health care premiums and your insurance.

Some insurance companies charge former smokers a higher rate than those who have never smoked. This depends on the amount of time that you were a smoker and how long ago you quit smoking. These increased health care costs added to the amount of money spent on cigarettes alone can make smoking one expensive habit. Think of all the other things this money could be going towards!

Not only does smoking affect your finances but it can also be an inconvenience. Most public facilities prohibit smoking indoors and require smokers to be at least 15-25 feet away from the building. Smokers may also face social stigma from others and even be discriminated upon when applying for a job position. With all these factors to consider, one must really ask themselves, what is the real cost of smoking, and is it worth it?

Quitting smoking is a task that is difficult to accomplish, however it is not impossible. If you or a loved one are interested in quitting smoking the Johnston County Public Health department offers FREE smoking cessation programs. To learn more about the smoking cessation programs that are available and how you can participate in them please contact Kimetha Fulwood at (919) 989-5200.


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