Financial Problems Caused by Smoking

Financial Problems Caused by Smoking
••• cigarette 3 image by Nathalie P from

As if smokers weren't feeling besieged enough with public opinion and government regulation stacked against them, it seems the financial burden of smoking has become more onerous than ever. If the prospect of dying an early death suffocating from a hideous cancer isn't terrifying enough, try adding up the cost of the habit to each smoker and society in general. If you think the government is done taxing your addiction, you would be wrong. That's just the beginning.

Direct Costs

Rutgers University calculated that a $10-a-day smoking habit will set you back $3,650 each year, and that doesn't include potential interest that could have been earned by investing the money. Looking at it like that is about as close as you can get to literally setting your money on fire and watching it burn. And the price of a pack continues to climb. According to, the average amount of state tax levied is $1.45 per pack; add to that an additional $1.01 for the Federal government and it is obvious smokers are dumping a windfall into regulatory pockets.

Indirect Costs

The indirect cost to smokers are no small matter either. Consider the following expenses: smokers pay more for health insurance coverage if they can get it at all; unless you smoke outside consistently, the resale value of your house will likely drop considerably; and these days you can even be fired from your job for smoking or, at the very least, penalized financially by your employer. A survey by the Society of Human Resource Managers, and cited by MSN Money, revealed 5 percent of employers prefer not to hire smokers and 1 percent will not hire them under any condition. Weyco, a medical benefits administrator company in Michigan, tests both employees and spouses for smoking. If found “guilty” they pay a $80 monthly surcharge. But it's not just the medical industry. Even Alaska Airlines will not hire anyone who tests positive for nicotine.

Medical estimates that in a two-smoker household a full 15 percent of the household budget goes to feeding the addiction through cigarette purchases, which leaves less money down the road to pay for the high-cost medicines needed to treat smoking-related illnesses like lung cancer, emphysema and a host of others. Factor in rising health care costs, which don't appear to be moderating any time soon, and the financial stress of dealing with deteriorating health can cause even more health issues to arise: insomnia, migraine headaches, poor diet. Taken as a whole, it's easy to see that the financial problems caused by smoking go far beyond the few dollars you lay down for a pack of cigarettes.