The Real Cost of Smoking

Monday, November 15, 2010

Photo: Courtesy of Graur Codrin

As a nursing major, smoking is a subject that I am very passionate about. I have several loved ones who smoke, and it is difficult to see the impact that it has on their health. Although smoking is starting to decline in public places due to new laws, over 40 million people in America smoke. However, the cost of smoking is not purely physical; over $100 billion per year is spent on health care costs related directly to smoking. Some of the following costs of smoking are:

The Price of Cigarettes: This amount varies from person to person. Use American Cancer Society's online calculator to figure out how much money you personally spend per year on cigarettes.

 Life Insurance: Smokers need to pay much higher life insurance premiums, usually about $1,000 extra per year.

Health Insurance: Since smokers are at high risk for getting cancer or COPD, they pay a much higher rate for their health insurance.

Health Care Costs: Smokers tend to have more overall doctor’s appointments than nonsmokers. If you pay a deductible for each visit, the increased amount of visits will probably average out to be about an extra $25/month.

Medications: Smoker have a higher risk for disease, therefore they are more likely to become sick and need to buy expensive medications than nonsmokers.

Home Owner’s Insurance: Over 20,000 house fires are caused by cigarettes every year in America. To decrease this risk, most insurance companies will offer an average of a 10% discount to nonsmokers for Home Owner’s Insurance.

Dental Care: Smoking causes damage to the teeth and gums, so smokers typically spend more money going to the dentists for special products and cleansings.

There are many other costs associated with smoking. To learn more, read this MSN Money article. Smoking is a major problem in America that affects almost every person. It kills more than alcohol, AIDS, illegal drugs, car crashes, fires, murders, and suicides combined. It also adds to the financial burden of family and communities. If you or someone you know would like to learn more information on how to quit smoking, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  for more information, programs and materials. 

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