Smoking is not a cheap venture in any way, shape or form. But it seems that the price tag on a pack of cigarettes hardly deters many from partaking in the activity despite harsh economic times. Although the price tag of a single pack of cigarettes may not be intimidating enough for those experiencing the relaxing effects of smoking, maybe a look at the overall cost of the habit would make somewhat of an impact.
Today a pack of cigarettes costs about $6/pack. The price varies based on location and taxes, yes, but let’s use $6/pack for calculations. At $6/pack, if someone smokes 1 pack a day, every day the annual expenditure on cigarettes is $2190/year. But unfortunately the costs don’t stop there.
The True Cost of Smoking
In addition to the cost of cigarettes, you’re also giving up hours or days of your life. According to this calculator, smoking 1 pack a day for a year results in about a loss of 55 days from one’s life. Of course it is hard to say exactly how many hours or days will be shed off from smoking while there are so many other variables to consider. No matter the exact amount of “time lost” from smoking, we do know that it does in fact shorten life.
Some of the health costs and effects of smoking are:
- Lung cancer
- Heart disease
Here you can calculate how much it costs you to smoke. Keep in mind that the price per pack you enter has not been that price forever. So if you’ve been smoking for 20 years, the total calculation will be a bit elevated since cigarettes did not cost as much 20 years ago. But then again, all prices are relative.
In 2004, it was estimated that the actual cost of smoking was nearly $40 per pack. Factors in this total include:
- $33/pack for the cost of early deaths, smoking related disabilities, and other factors (which includes $20.28 a pack due to reduced life expectancy)
- $5.44/pack for the cost of the effect of second-hand smoke on significant others
- $1.44/pack for the cost of the effect of second-hand smoke on the society as a whole
With a pack of cigarettes costing approximately $40, it is estimated that someone who smokes would spend $171,000 over a lifetime! More recently, a pack of cigarettes is said to cost up to a whopping $150/pack.
“Hidden” Cost of Smoking
The cost of smoking goes far beyond a pack of cigarettes. There are numerous “hidden” costs of smoking which are associated with smoking that many people don’t even think about or consider. It’s easy to ignore these costs because they aren’t as clearly noticed as simply buying a pack of cigarettes. Some of these hidden costs include:
- Increased Life Insurance rates – Due to being at a greater risk of dying at an early age, smokers have to pay higher life insurance premium payments.
- Increased Health Insurance rates – Similar to life insurance, smokers must pay higher medical insurance premium payments since they are at a higher risk for contracting medical problems.
- Increased Health Care costs – People who smoke generally have more medical problems than those who don’t smoke, so they must pay more to take care of these problems.
- Increased medication use – More medical problems lead to more medications, increasing personal costs even further.
- Increased Home Owner’s Insurance rates – People who smoke have a higher chance of burning down there house. This higher chance is reflected in higher home owner’s insurance premium payments.
- Decreased value of your house – Hardly anyone likes a smoke-filled house. It creates a bad smell and causes discoloration. This decreases the value to potential buyers.
- Increased Car Insurance rates – Smokers have an increased chance of getting into a car accident, and thus this is reflected in higher car insurance premium payments.
- Less value for your car – Due to the foul odor smoke leaves, the value of your car suffers and it’s resale or trade-in value decreases.
Although the above costs may be enough to cause a permanent smoking hiatus, sometimes chasing the opposite sex or playing a sport are the only benefits of quitting that matter to some individuals. Let’s face it, no one likes the smell of cigarette smoke, and a coach or sports team doesn’t want someone with athletic ability that is impeded due to smoking. When it comes to the cost of smoking, there are truly many hidden costs that may be enough to convince you or your friends to drop the habit.
Is the true cost of smoking really worth it?