The Cost of Smoking: Quit and You Could Buy a New Car Every Year

January 9, 2019, 10:31 PM UTC

Smoking kills people, but the habit gets their wallets first. While research has long proven a nicotine addiction causes harm to one’s health, new analysis proves it causes serious damage to financial health too.

Smokers in Connecticut, the state that ranks highest in terms of the financial cost of cigarette smoking, are spending nearly $56,000 annually on their habit, according to new analysis published Wednesday by personal finance website WalletHub. Over their lifetimes, smokers in Connecticut are spending more than $2.8 million.

WalletHub’s analysis looks at the cost of smoking over both a year and a lifetime of tobacco use. The totals are broken down by state, which accounts for variables such as tobacco prices and taxes, as well as healthcare costs and income loss due to related health issues.

Looking at the United States as a whole, smoking costs the country over $300 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The WalletHub study also points to the mortality figures associated with smoking. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that since 1964, smoking-related illnesses have claimed the lives of more than 20 million Americans, and 2.5 million of those were non-smokers who suffered the effects of secondhand smoke. Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, and smoking also causes health issues such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

This may also be true for e-cigarettes, though the jury is still out. While e-cig producers such as Juul say vaping is safer than traditional smoking, some studies have shown that people who smoke e-cigs have the same toxic chemicals in their bodies as regular cigarette smokers, even when the e-cigs don’t contain nicotine. Chemicals such aspropylene glycol and glycerin are used in e-cigs to preserve the flavor, the very thing that seems to motivate people to opt for vaping over cigarette smoking. Vaping has become so popular with teens, the FDA is considering a ban on online e-cigarette sales.

There is at least some good news on the tobacco front, though. Smoking among adults in the U.S. fell to an all-time low in 2018.

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