Research Shows Lifetime Costs for a Smoker Burn a Big Hole in Your Wallet

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(KNSI) — If giving up smoking is one of your New Year’s resolutions, there’s more than just the health aspect that will improve.

According to a new study by personal finance website WalletHub, the habit burns a $4,567,134 hole in your wallet over the lifetime of the average smoker in Minnesota. That made the state the seventh most expensive per smoker, ringing up at $95,149 a year.

They calculated the cost for an adult who smokes one pack of cigarettes per day beginning at age 21, when a person can legally purchase tobacco products in the U.S. and assumed a lifespan of 48 more years, taking into account that 69 is the average age at which a smoker dies.

Researchers looked at several factors, including out of pocket costs, healthcare costs, and income lost.

We were seventh for out of pocket costs ($195,092) which calculated the average price for a pack of cigarettes and multiplied it by the number of days in 48 years. For costs per year, that was multiplied by 365 days.

Minnesota also ranked seventh for healthcare costs per smoker. Researchers went by state level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for annual healthcare costs directly related to smoking and divided it by the number of adult smokers per state. The study showed that it was $209,140.

Previous studies have shown that smoking can lead to loss of income, either because of absenteeism due to smoking-related illness, workplace bias, or lower productivity due to smoking at work. Researchers for this study assumed an average 18% decrease in the median household income for each state after a recent survey from National Longitudinal Surveys found that smokers earn 18.1 percent less than nonsmokers and arrived at an average $671,380 income loss for a smoker in Minnesota.

Some tips for quitting include figuring out what triggers the urge to light up. Once that door is unlocked, it can help find ways to deal with it without smoking. Creating a smoke free environment, such as removing cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays from the house or the car, can reduce the urge to smoke. Replace smoking with healthy habits like exercising when a craving strikes, chewing gum, munching on fruits or veggies, or getting into hobbies to keep your mind off cravings. Try nicotine replacement therapy like patches, gum, lozenges, or nasal spray. Pat yourself on the back for hitting your milestones, whether it’s hours, days, or weeks without smoking. Get yourself a reward for putting in the effort, such as buying something with the money saved from not smoking.

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