Cost of Smoking – The Hole In Your Wallet Every Week, Month, and Year

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It’s not earth-shattering news that smoking is bad for you. For some smokers, though, the health consequences seem too remote to consider. After all, maybe we’ll develop artificial lungs sometime soon, or perhaps we’ll cure cancer altogether. Maybe you even feel like the damage to your health is already done. But smoking isn’t just bad for your body; it’s also bad for your financial bottom line, and can eat up time you’d probably rather spend doing something else.

The Cost of Cigarettes and Smoking


Just Your Cigarettes

You’d probably be hard-pressed to spend a thousand or more dollars on something you don’t need. But that’s exactly what you do as a smoker. The relatively low cost of an individual pack or carton of cigarettes conceals the massive fortune you can quickly spend on tobacco. A 2011 study sponsored by the UK government found that 81% of smokers smoke a pack per day or more. The American Lung Association reported in 2012 that the average pack of cigarettes costs $5.50. (If you live in New York, that price could be 14.50. For a full breakdown state by state, check out this guide).

That might not seem like very much, but it’s probably more than you spend on personal care products, coffee, and other minor expenditures. That misleadingly small price you pay for a pack of cigarettes adds up to a monthly cost of $170 – and that’s just if you smoke a pack per day. Over the course of a year, a smoker who limits herself to 20 cigarettes per day can expect to spend $2,040 on cigarettes. That’s money you could save for your retirement, use to fund your health insurance, put toward a down payment on a house or car, or rely on to take a lavish weekend vacation.


The Things Along the Way

The costs don’t end there, though. As every smoker knows, when you need a cigarette, you need one right now. If you smoke, you’ll spend more money on fuel driving to and from convenience stores. And your daily cigarette-buying trip might tempt you to buy other things you don’t need when you see them in the store – chips, soda, alcohol, and other goods you might not even think about if it weren’t for your trip to the gas station.

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Failed Quit Attempts

Smokers learn early that quitting smoking is extremely difficult. This is why The Kerry Gaynor Method can come as such a breath of fresh air; it really is easy. But quitting smoking with other methods certainly isn’t. A failed quit attempt can cost you even more than cigarettes themselves. A two-week supply of nicotine patches costs $50, and if you go the electronic cigarette route, you can easily pay a hundred dollars or more every two weeks.


Indirect Smoking Costs

It’s not just cigarettes you spend money on when you’re a veteran smoker. The American Lung Association argues that the actual cost of a pack of cigarettes is $20, because this is how much more than a non-smoker you can expect to spend on hidden costs such as health care.


Health Care

Under the new Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can’t charge higher premiums if you have a medical condition, and they can’t charge women different rates from men. The ACA does, however, allow insurers to charge higher premiums to smokers. You can expect to pay 25 to 75 percent more in health care costs if you smoke – even if you’re otherwise healthy. This means smokers can expect to pay between $500 and $2,500 more than non-smokers in annual health care premiums. But after six months of abstinence from tobacco, you can get the same rate as a non-smoker.

Of course, the costs don’t end there. You know that smoking leads to health problems, and these health problems can hit your wallet long before they debilitate you. The American Cancer Society estimates that, over time, smokers pay $35 in health care costs for every pack of cigarettes they smoke. Many smokers don’t begin paying these costs until middle age, when they’re suddenly hit with a variety of medical expenses.


Your Teeth

It’s not just your physical health that suffers, though. Smoking frequently affects the teeth before it affects any other area of the body. You’ll have to make more trips to the dentist, and may need more dental procedures such as fillings, extractions, tooth whitening services, and treatment for gingivitis. The amount varies depending on your overall health and the rates your dentist charges, but can range from a hundred dollars to several thousand dollars in costs every year.

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Life Insurance

You’ll also pay more to protect your family from the worst consequence of smoking – death. Life insurance rates for smokers range from 150 to 500 percent higher than rates for non-smokers, and the cost you pay will likely increase as you age.


The Cost of a Secret

What if you’re one of those smokers who tries to hide the habit from loved ones and employers? Unsurprisingly, you’ll pay for that, too. Deodorizing products, gums, and mouthwash can all cost a pretty penny, increasing your budget by a few hundred to a few thousand dollars each year. And if you hate the smell of smoke in your clothes, you probably spend more money on laundry detergent and dry cleaning services.


Costs That Can’t Be Quantified


Your Time

You can easily tally up the financial cost of smoking by examining how smoking has changed your health and lifestyle. But some costs aren’t so easily quantified. Your most important possession is also the only one you can never get back – time. The American Cancer Society points out that smokers die, on average, a full 10 years earlier than non-smokers. Perhaps you think you’ll be one of the lucky ones, that you’ll quit tomorrow, or that something else will kill you before smoking does, though. It doesn’t matter because you’re still losing time. You lose time every time you have to stop and get cigarettes, every time you interrupt a conversation to step outside and smoke, and every moment that you spend on cigarettes instead of with your friends and family.


Harm to Your Family

No smoker wants to think about the ways he or she harms his or her family – but ignoring the facts doesn’t change them. If you smoke around others, you expose them to carcinogens in second hand smoke, and this means they could end up paying some of the same costs you do.

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Distraction from Your Day

It’s easy to tally all the hidden costs of smoking. But many smokers are hesitant to quit because the costs of smoking don’t seem nearly as bad as withdrawal. You go through withdrawal every day, though. When you get irritable because you can’t smoke, when you’re stuck in a meeting and can’t leave, or when you drive your children around and smoke in the car, you lose time. Rather than enjoying these moments or being productive, you’re distracted by the craving for cigarettes – and both you, your employer, and your loved ones deserve better than this.


Quitting smoking might seem hard, but when you add up the ways smoking has lowered your quality of life, the right decision is obvious. There’s no need to feel guilty about how smoking has already affected you, because guilt only makes quitting harder. Instead, the key is to simply do it. Quit today and you’ll have more money, more time, better health, and a better chance of living longer – no matter how young or old you are.

Andrew Shack

The original member of the team along with Kerry, Andrew Shack dedicates everything to saving lives day by day. A former Executive Vice President of Capitol Records, Andrew was referred to Kerry from a friend with a healthy dose of business-like skepticism. His exact response when he learned about The Method was, "You're joking right?". His results were no joke. His transformation from 2 packs a day to no cravings set into motion the next 3 years of developing a system to bring The Method to a larger audience. Years later, he still hasn't picked up another cigarette.



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