The High Cost of Smoking
Most people quit smoking because of the damage it does to their health. But if you need an extra reason to kick the habit, consider that smoking could be costing you thousands of dollars.
When people consider the cost of smoking, they usually focus on the cost of the cigarettes alone. But this is only the beginning.
Add to that figure the cost of extra over-the-counter and prescription medications for illnesses related to smoking. Add in the cost of more expensive health and life insurance premiums. You'll also spend more on copays and miss more work because of more frequent doctor visits. And don’t forget increased dental expenses.
High cost to health
Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking-related illnesses cause nearly one of every five deaths each year in the United States.
The CDC, American Lung Association, and American Cancer Society report:
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Smoking and tobacco use account for most lung cancer deaths.
Middle-aged smokers are three times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
Smoking increases a person’s risk for stroke.
Smoking increases your risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease.
Smokers are at greater risk for complications after surgery. These include infections and pneumonia.
On average, adults who smoke die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.
Because of their increased health problems, smokers go to the doctor more often. They need more extensive medical tests and treatments, have more surgeries, spend more time in the hospital, and take more medications than nonsmokers.
Even with health insurance, smokers spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more in deductibles and out-of-pocket health care costs per year than nonsmokers. Smokers are also frequently exposed to more secondhand smoke than nonsmokers, which leads to additional costs and adverse health effects.
Give it up
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it can be done. If you don't quit, over time, the health and financial toll will keep growing. Working with your health care professional, you can increase your chances of quitting. It often takes multiple attempts at quitting before success is finally achieved. For access to free quit-smoking help, visit the CDC or go to the U.S. government website for smoke-free information and support. To find a telephone quit line that serves your area, call 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).
- Nelson, Gail A., MS, APRN, BC
- newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician