Save $2000 When You Quit Smoking or Don’t Start

There are many health and social reasons to quit smoking, but what are the financial benefits of doing so?

Indirect Benefits

The indirect financial benefits of not smoking include savings from costs of healthcare, which the CDC estimates at about $326 billion per year in the United States. This is split between $170 billion in direct medical costs for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and secondhand smoke.

In per capita terms, a population of about $325 million in the US as of 2016 means around $1,000 of healthcare savings per person. However, since this can vary wildly and is hard to see immediate causative benefits from, these figures will not be included in this analysis.

Direct Benefits

The more immediately visible benefit to not smoking is the savings from not buying cigarettes. How much does this add up to?

According to Wikipedia, cigarette consumption varies considerably from country to country, reaching as high as 4,000 cigarettes per adult per year in Montenegro. In comparison, the United States is only 1/4th as high at 1,083.41. Dividing by the number of days in a year (365), it seems like fewer than 3 cigarettes are consumed per person per day.

However, that figure is misleading, as it does not separate out smokers and non-smokers.

Looking at just people who smoke, the average (median) smoker consumed 19.1 cigarettes per day in 2012. In a year, the average smoker would have gone through 19.1 x 365 = 6,971.5 cigarettes!

The average price for a pack of 20 cigarettes in this 2015 report was $5.51. The number of packs consumed in a year would be 6,971.5 / 20 = 348.575.

At the average price, that means the average smoker can expect expenditures of 348.575 x $5.51 = $1,920.65 per year!

Not smoking reduces that amount by 100%, resulting in a savings of nearly $2,000 every year. Over the course of 30 years (the average home mortgage length), that is $60,000 (not including interest or inflation) that you could spend towards your home or any other expenses.

If you currently smoke, you have yet another reason to stop.

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