Smoking Co$t$ to Health and Wealth

MANHASSET, NY – Smoking is a killer habit – both for your health and wealth – especially if you’re a New Yorker.  That’s according to a new report by WalletHub, a personal finance website that looked at the societal and economic costs of smoking for each state.

Analysts for the site calculated the potential financial losses including the cumulative cost of a daily cigarette pack over several decades, healthcare expenditures, income losses and what the money spent on cigarettes would have amounted to had it been invested.

For example, using a hypothetical model of a smoker who starts at age 18 and smokes for 51 years, analysts took the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in each state and multiplied that figure by the total number of days in 51 years. Then, they calculated the amount of return a smoker would have earned by instead investing that money in the stock market over the same period.

So, here in New York, a smoker would spend $187,379 on cigarettes over the course of five decades that could have earned $1,771,868 (based on the historical average market return rate for the S&P 500 minus the inflation rate).

“You always look at the impact of smoking on someone’s health, but I think the impact of this can be very eye-opening to a lot of people,” said Patricia Folan, DNP, director of the Northwell Health’s Center for Tobacco Control.

About 50 percent of patients who seek smoking cessation treatment at the Manhasset center cite cost as a motivating factor to quit, explained Ms. Folan. New York has the highest cigarette tax in the country at $4.35 per pack.

According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.

 “Seeing the expense of cigarette smoking, not only to your health, but also to your pocketbook can be motivating to some, especially young people,” Ms. Folan added.

For more information, read The True Cost of Smoking by State report.

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