The True Cost of Smoking

Do you know how much smoking is really costing you? Most people have no idea. Would you believe that smoking a pack a day could easily cost you $10,000 per year?

Read on and discover the hidden costs of smoking.

Smokers usually limit their focus to the cost of cigarettes. The reality is that the cost of cigarettes is only a small fraction of the overall cost of smoking, but let’s start there.


Right now in Florida, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $9. If you average a pack a day, that adds up to $3,285 each year. Two packs a day is a whopping $6,570 each year.

“But I buy mine at the res…” Well, you may save the $4.35 tax per pack (a loophole that could soon be closed and leave you paying full price), but you’re still paying an average of $4.65 per pack. Even the cheapest native brand will set you back $20 per carton.

Also, remember that you need to add in the cost of driving to the reservation to get them: let’s say you average one trip every two weeks, averaging 50 miles round trip, by the IRS current 2010 deduction of 50 cents per mile (designed to include not just gas cost, but maintenance and other car expenses), you’re spending another $650 each year, plus your valuable time, just to drive out to the res for cheaper cigarettes. At those rates, a pack a day habit still costs you a total of $1,380 – $2,347 each year. Two packs a day, and you’re looking at spending $2,110 – $4,044 each year.

It may not have seemed like that much one pack at a time, but it adds up to thousands each year. That could be a hefty house payment, down payment on a car, or that dream vacation with your family.

Now what about all the other hidden costs of smoking, the ones you maybe haven’t considered before?

Smokers Pay More For Insurance

Health Insurance: Maybe your employer pays your insurance costs, but they could be paying YOU a higher wage instead, if they didn’t have to pay that extra money for insurance. Health insurance for smokers is anywhere from 15% to 40% higher for a smoker, because they get sick more often and more seriously. This could easily add up to more than $500 per year.

Home Owner’s Insurance: Smokers pay at least 10% more, because smokers are more likely to burn down their house. Average cost: $50 per year.

Car Insurance: Typically, you pay 5% more as a smoker. Driving and smoking can be as dangerous as driving and texting (except that if you drop your phone in your lap, it doesn’t burn). Add another $50 a year or more for car insurance.

Life Insurance: One of the biggest factors determining the cost of your policy is whether or not you smoke, usually more than doubling the cost for smokers. The obvious reason, of course, is that smokers die sooner. Expect to pay an extra $1,400 or more a year.

Total insurance cost: at least $2,000 more each year.

Smoking Depreciates Assets

Smoking in your car reduces its resale or trade-in value by an average of $1,000. If you keep your car an average of 5 years, that’s $200 per year lost to smoking.

Smoking in your house lowers its value by at least thousands, if not tens of thousands. And that’s after spending hundreds of dollars to professionally clean walls, drapes, and carpets to reduce the smell. If a house loses an average $10,000 in value after smoking in it for 10 years, the cost of smoking in your house: $1,000 per year.

Your possessions lose value also, and often need replacing more often because of burns, stains, and smell. Assuming that your possessions are worth $10,000, and because you smoke they are devalued and replaced 10% more per year than a nonsmoker, then smoking costs you an extra $1,000 over a 10-year average usage.

Total asset lost: average $1,300 or more each year.

Increased Healthcare & Medication Costs

Smokers have more medical problems and need more medications. Even if you don’t have the big, scary illnesses from smoking yet, like cancer or emphysema, on average smokers make more frequent trips to the doctor for minor ailments and need more prescriptions. Even if you have great insurance, you’re paying extra in deductibles and co-pays. On average this is an extra $400 each year more than the average nonsmoker pays.

This is a low estimate, based on if the smoker is healthy. More extensive treatment requiring surgeries and hospital stays would quickly skyrocket this figure. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US.

Lower Wages & Lost Work Opportunities

Studies have found that smokers earn between 4% to 11% less money than their nonsmoking counterparts.

For an employee earning $40,000 a year, earning 4% less would equal $1,600 each year.

Many employers prefer to hire nonsmokers and some do not hire smokers at all (an estimated 6,000 companies in the US). Could your smoking habit be the reason you weren’t hired?

Some companies have even instituted nonsmoking policies and then fired current employees who refused to quit smoking. Courts have already ruled that it is legal for them to do so, and the trend may grow as companies look for ways to improve their bottom line. After all, smokers cost their employers more in lost productivity (smoke breaks), sick days, and health insurance.

The average cost for a company to employee a smoker is $3,400 more per year than employing a nonsmoker. Has your workplace placed greater and greater limits on where and when you can smoke? Those are the same first steps other companies took before eliminating smokers from their workforce completely. Could your smoking habit cost you your job?

Earning less also means less money paid into your social security and retirement plans. And since the average smoker dies sooner than the average nonsmoker, the money paid into retirement year after year could be money down the drain if you don’t live long enough to benefit.

Lost Interest

All that money wasted on smoking could be put to work earning you more money.
For example, a 40-year-old who smokes one pack a day, quits, and puts just the cost of cigarettes into a 401(k) earning 8% a year:

  • $1,380 per year cigarette habit would earn almost $130,000 in interest by age 70
  • $3,285 per year cigarette habit would earn over $300,000 in interest by age 70


  • Cigarettes (one pack per day):
  • Insurance:
  • Depreciated Assets:
  • Healthcare:
  • Lower Wages:
  • Lost Interest:
  • $1,380 – $3,285 each year

    $2,000 each year

    $1,300 each year

    $400 each year

    $1,600 each year

    $4,000 – $10,000 each year (over a 30yr investment)


    $10,680 – $18,585 each year

    These figures are based on conservative estimates. This total does not include the expense of a serious illness, uncollected retirement benefits (due to early death), or day-to-day expenses such as more frequent cleaning for clothes, car & house, breath mints, teeth whitening, air freshener, or any other expense incurred in an effort to eliminate the smell & stains that smoking leaves behind on your body and your things.

    Your own personal cost of smoking could be much HIGHER! Can you afford to keep smoking? How much is it worth for you to quit?


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