The true costs of smoking

March 24, 2016

Your pack-a-day habit isn’t just destroying your lungs, it is burning a hole in your wallet too. Most smokers know that smoking is expensive but few actually realise the true costs of the habit and the savings that can be accumulated over time when you quit smoking.

If you smoke a pack a day and you stop smoking for ONE day, you would save about R35.

That may not seem like much but it would cover the cost of a quick breakfast or coffee for you and a friend.

Try stopping smoking for a week and you could treat the family to a dinner out with the R245 you have saved.

Take up the 28 day challenge and quit smoking for a month. That equates to an extra R1000 in your wallet. It is like an instant pay rise, so treat yourself to something special – you have earned it!

You’ve managed to quit smoking for a month and survived. Before you know it a year has passed and now the savings really start stacking up. A 20-a-day habit over a year will put an extra R12 775 into your wallet. What a bonus! Think about what you could do with an extra twelve thousand rand when you stop smoking.

If you decide to put those savings into a savings account every year over the next decade you would have a balance of over R125 000 and in 20 years, R250 000 – that is without inflation and before adding interest.
Unfortunately no comprehensive studies of the total cost of smoking on an individual have been done in South Africa but in the USA a group of analysts from WalletHub did just that.
The research was broken down by specific categories:

  • The cost of tobacco was based on one pack a day for 51 years plus the amount of money a person would have earned if that money were invested instead.
  • Health-care costs were calculated by taking CDC data and dividing that amount by the number of adult smokers in a state.
  • Income loss per smoker was based on a Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta report that found smokers earn 8% less than non-smokers, specifically because of their habit.
  • Other costs included were second hand smoke exposure costs and losing out on the 5% to 15% homeowner’s insurance credit that non-smokers usually get.

The formula for Financial Cost of Smoking used was:

Financial Cost of Smoking = Out-of-Pocket Costs + Financial Opportunity Cost + Related Health-Care Costs + Income Loss Due to Smoking-Related Issues + Increase in Homeowner’s Insurance Premium + Second hand Smoke-Exposure Costs.

The outcome of the analysis was that Smoking could cost a smoker $1 Million to $2 Million in a Lifetime!

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