With the introduction of e-cigarettes as a safer option than traditional smoking, big tobacco companies are starting to price their cigarettes much higher than what it was in the past recent years. The competition with e-cigarettes, along with the high taxes which seems to go up every year, adds to the increasing price of tobacco cigarettes that makes it a less favorable option for existing smokers.
To put everything in proper perspective, we have gathered some of the facts why smoking tobacco cigarettes cannot only harm your health big time but break your bank in the long-run as well.
The Cost of Smoking
How much you are paying just to get the daily hit of nicotine depends on your state, on the brand you smoke, and how much cigarettes you consume every day. To help us compute how smoker spends for their smoking habit, we will use the cost of Marlboro Reds in different US states compiled on this post by The Awl.
According to their post, the average cost for a pack of 20 Marlboro Reds this 2016 ranges from $5.19 in Kentucky, $7.01 in Nebraska, to $12.60 in New York. This variation in prices means that you can almost smoke twice as much in Kentucky than in New York for less. If a smoker consumes one pack per day, the annual cost of smoking can range from $1,894.35 to $4,599- which is already enough to fund other meaningful activities or make debts less intimidating.
The True Cost of Smoking
Aside from the upfront cost when purchasing cigarettes, there are other costs that are contributed to smoking. These costs, which often come in hindsight, are far more severe than the actual cost of purchasing cigarettes. Detailed below are just some of the overlooked financial cost of smoking.
1. Higher Insurance Premiums
The fact that smoking has a detrimental effect on your body makes it one of the risk factors that insurers consider when computing life insurance premiums. Statistics says that on average, smokers typically pay 16%-41% higher premiums than non-smokers with equivalent demographics and health conditions. So, a $500 monthly premium for non-smokers can go up as high as $600 for smokers.
It is also said that the older smokers are when they cut off their smoking habit, the greater the additional cost it adds to their monthly premiums. Because smokers more are likely to have ongoing health problems than non-smokers as they grow older, it is just reasonable for insurance companies to charge them more.
2. Health Care Needs
Due to increased frequency of illness that smokers experienced throughout the year, they also tend to spend more on their health care needs. Illness such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, diabetes, stroke and lung cancer are just some of the most common diseases that many smokers experience, which then leads to the higher hospital bill.
Also, the report from Reuters stated the burden that smokers place on the healthcare spending of the U.S. The report say “Using recent health and medical spending surveys, researchers calculated that 8.7 percent of all healthcare spending, or $170 billion a year, is for illness caused by tobacco smoke, and public programs like Medicare and Medicaid paid for most of these costs.”
Stemming from the increased hospital visit is the increased need for medications of smokers. With the increasing price of medicines to cure simple colds and other respiratory infections, there can be no doubt that smokers spend more on medications than non-smokers.
4. Car Insurance
Studies have shown that drivers who smoke have a higher risk of getting into accidents than non-smokers. Some of the reasons pointed out in the study are:
- Smoking while driving can cause distractions that keep the driver from maintaining focus on the road. Less focus means more vehicular accidents.
- Smokers have behavioral habits that are generally higher than non-smokers, increasing the risk while driving.
The smoke from cigarettes can fog up the air and stain the glass of the car which then results to reduce visibility.
5. Home Owner’s Insurance
Insurers digs out even the tiniest risk that could put your life in danger. If they found out that you are smoking, you are more likely to pay more policy premiums than those who do not smoke. Here are the reasons:
- At least 20,000 residential fires a year are caused by cigarettes. The act of smoking increases the risk that a house will burn down.
- Smokers tend to have riskier habits, and these habits can lead to more home owner's insurance claims than non-smokers.
- Because smokers need lighters and matches, it also means that children in the house are likely to have more access to these than children in the house of non-smokers.
6. Dental Care
One of the first organs that smoking destroys is the mouth. Smoking can damage gums and teeth faster than anyone would think, and it means more frequent trips to the dental clinic. According to WebMD, the tobacco in cigarettes can lead to gum disease by “affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth”
It also interferes with the normal function of gum cells which makes smokers more susceptible to infections such as periodontal disease. To keep the teeth from yellowing again, smokers have to a special toothpaste, which comes with a hefty price tag compared to regular toothpaste.
7. Less Pension Benefits
Statistics says that smokers earn anywhere between 4% and 11% less money than non-smokers because they work less due to illness and other health reasons. Since they earn less money, they also pay less into social security and/or pension funds. Since fewer funds are put aside for these retirement programs, the amount that smokers will receive when they retire will be less than those who don’t smoke.
8. Cleaning Cost
The smoke from cigarettes can severely stain clothes and home furniture and often leaves a stinky smell in which normal laundry cannot remove. Therefore, smokers need to spend more money on keeping their clothes, car, and house free from stain and stinky smell. Clothes that need to be washed more often also requires more water and energy, adding to the cost of special cleaning products which are expensive too.
Certainly, quitting is the best solution to avoid these hidden costs of smoking. But if you find it hard to do, or you still want to get the hit of nicotine without the health risk and added costs stated from above, then electronic cigarettes might just work fine for you. Although the upfront cost of purchasing a vape pen or mod is higher than a stick of cigarette, you could save a lot of money from using it in the long-run. If you still doubt about the safety of e-cigarettes, check this infographic from our blog and learn the facts that you should know about vaping.