Last updated on December 12th, 2015
We all have our vices and you might argue that there are lots of habits other than smoking tobacco that you can “give up” to save you money .
I for one am a sucker for beauty products that promise to erase 20 years from your face and body. We all have our stupid addictions and I admit that in quitting smoking years ago, I probably did prevent a few wrinkles from creeping around my mouth. What I did learn was that the cost of beauty products is nothing compared to the hidden costs of cigarettes.
The Costs of Smoking Cigarettes
If you’re a smoker you probably know how much it costs to buy a pack of cigarettes, but it’s a bit harder (and less appealing) to think about about the cumulative costs of enjoying your habit.
As a non-smoker, I only recently became aware of the fact that cigarette prices vary dramatically in different parts of the country. In New York, a pack of Marlboros costs top dollar; about $8.97, while here in Atlanta, you can buy the same pack for about $6.00. Prices vary from state to state largely due to different excise tax rates in each state.
Still, when you add up the cost of smoking, it’s not so hard to stop and think whether it’s worth trading in your vice for a new car or your child’s education, or a good chunk of your retirement income.
The financial trade-off is pretty overwhelming. If you take that cheap smoke at $6.00 a pack and you smoke a pack per day that equates to spending $2,160 a year on cigarettes. What’s more, if you invested the money in a retirement fund earning 4% a year for 20 years your savings will grow to about $60,000.
What You May Not Know
The high cost of cigarettes isn’t the only sacrifice you make by choosing to smoke. I’m not even going to get into the health risks, because too many die hard smokers already know about them or choose to dispute the risks. I will; however, include this darkly outrageous mock ad by artist Bonnie Vierthaler. Very clever, no?
Here’s Five Hidden Costs of Smoking
1 – I recently shopped around for better health insurance rates and discovered that the penalties for smokers (even those like my husband, who recently quit smoking) can up your premium between 25 and 40 per cent! Life insurance premiums for smokers are typically double that of non-smokers.
2 – Then there’s the extra cost of dry cleaning. Even if the jacket or sweater isn’t dirty, it smells of tobacco after one wearing.
3 – Visits to the dentist become more frequent (if you can afford them), since teeth get stained more easily and gums deteriorate faster.
4 – Speaking of deterioration, your car gets stained and smelly too. Cigarette ashes and butt “accidents” can burn holes in the floor mats and upholstery.
5 – What about your home? If you smoke indoors, everything from the carpet to the upholstery and draperies get browner. I know this for a fact because when I held up an original fabric sample next to our old draperies, there was a distinctive, somewhat repulsive brown hue. Even if you don’t notice it, a prospective home buyer will.
And Another Thing…Firing Up Can Get You Fired
In this time of high unemployment the fact becomes painfully clear that many companies are not hiring smokers. Some companies are even firing people who smoke because of health insurance risks and because smokers are perceived as being more likely to become ill on the job. Statistics from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids claim that smokers cost the economy $97.6 billion a year in lost productivity.
Are There Any Sane Alternatives For Smokers?
I’m not a health freak, nor am I a high and mighty non-smoker who takes great pleasure in chastising those who are addicted to tobacco. I think everyone has the right to choose his or her own lifestyle including diet selections, religious beliefs, living standards, sexual preference, and vices (including smoking). While I’ve been known to write a few articles in favor of Green Living and Healthful Activities, I also know we’re not all saints. So where am I going here? Well…as usual I have a suggestion regarding an alternative solution to smoking.
If you haven’t as yet looked into the benefits of smokeless electronic cigarettes, now may be the time. For example, the most reputable electronic cigarette companies, provide vapers with up to 400 puffs of smoke-like vapor – equivalent to up to 30 traditional cigarettes or 1.5 packs of traditional cigarettes. Great e-cigarette brands such as V2 and South Beach Smoke offer great vapor and are very cost effective. The cost of smoking e-cigs is as as low as $1.81 for the equivalent of a pack of traditional cigarettes.
Electronic Cigarettes are becoming well known and accepted throughout the world. The fact that the American Tobacco industry and big pharma has organized such a strong lobby against them simply means that a 100% legal, powerful competitor is becoming a serious threat.
So if you are a smoker, you owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to read up on the benefits of electronic cigarettes and how millions have found a worthy alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
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