LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — This week marks Tobacco Free Awareness Week, and a new study shows that smokers on average will burn through $1.4 million in personal costs — but the cost is higher for those in D.C. and Maryland.
That expenditure represents spending on cigarettes, smokers’ own costs for medical treatment and lower wages, according to an analysis from financial site WalletHub. The biggest portion of the costs are related to buying tobacco, which amount to $1.03 million on average after a lifetime of smoking.
The price of a pack of cigarettes has been going up in the U.S., and the federal government also raised taxes to deter people from lighting up, as well as fund prevention and quitting programs.
To determine the cost of buying tobacco, WalletHub considered the per-price pack in each state and projected the expense if each smoker bought one pack a day starting at age 18, when smoking is legal, until they reached 69-years-old, which is the average age of death for smokers. It then calculated the amount of return that smoker would have earned if they had invested their cigarette money in the S&P 500 instead.
The tobacco costs were highest in Alaska at $1.55 million, given that the state’s per-pack prices are among the steepest in the U.S. After adding in lower wages and higher health care costs, Alaskan smokers incur costs of $2.03 million across their lifetimes, the highest in the country.
After Alaska, 10 states with the highest smoking costs are: Connecticut ($1.99 million); New York ($1.98 million); Massachusetts ($1.98 million); Rhode Island ($1.95 million); New Jersey ($1.87 million); Hawaii ($1.85 million); Washington, D.C. ($1.75 million); Vermont ($1.74 million); and Washington ($1.67 million).
Maryland was not far behind D.C., coming in as the 13th state with the highest smoking costs at $1.65 million. Virginia fared relatively well, ranking as the 39th state with costs at $1.25 million, which is below the average.
Smokers also tend to earn less money than non-smokers, while also incurring loss of income due to absenteeism and smoking-related health problems, WalletHub noted. The study assumed smokers had an 8 percent decrease in median household income for each state, based on research from the Federal Reserve of Atlanta.
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