Nix on Nicotine

Keywords: quit smoking, freedom from tobacco, anti-tobacco, smoking cessation, smoking deterrence, nicotine addiction

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Money to Burn

Who can afford to smoke?  Let's look at some numbers with the help of "Average Amos.” (The numbers here are taken from averages reported in the literature).

Amos started smoking at 16.  At first, he only smoked a little.  But by the time he turned 17, he was hooked, and was smoking about a pack each day.  Amos will smoke for 17 years.  Cigarettes cost about $4.50 per pack now, and that cost will increase over the time that Amos smokes.  So on average over the 17 years, a pack of cigarettes might cost about $6.50.  In that case, the habit will cost Amos more than $40,000 by the time he is 34 years old.  Had Amos saved or invested that money instead, he would have $200,000 or more!

But wait, that's not all it costs to smoke.  Over those 17 years, Amos will spend money to whiten his teeth and to dry clean his clothes - more than a non-smoker would spend.  His dental care will cost more, too, because smoking causes gum disease, bone loss, and other dental issues.  His health, auto, and life insurance will all be more expensive than for non-smokers.  When he tries to sell his car, the trade-in value is more than $1000 less than for a non-smoker's vehicle, because of burns in the upholstery and the smelly build-up of smoke residue.  When he thinks about selling his home, he'll need new carpets, draperies, and paint throughout before he can even put it on the market - costs that could be $10,000 or more! 

When Amos decides to quit after 17 years, he’ll spend some money on quit-smoking programs, too.  Maybe he’ll chew nicotine gum or use other substitute nicotine-delivery devices. He may see a doctor or a therapist to help him quit.  All of those things cost money, too.

All told, Amos will spend from $10,000 to $15,000 per year to maintain his habit.  Over 17 years, that comes to a whopping $170,000 to $255,000.  Now that’s a lot of money up in smoke!

Poor Amos!  I mean, really poor Amos!

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