broken cigarette on paper money

You've made the decision to quit smoking, but you know you're going to need help. Unfortunately, it seems like many of the popular methods to quit smoking come with a price tag, such as nicotine gums and prescription medications.

Experts cited by The New York Times say that the expense of certain smoking cessation methods can create an additional psychological barrier that discourages people from quitting. And according to research reported in the Los Angeles Times, typical quitting costs can run between $25 and $150 per month.

While this may sound high, smoking-related expenses--both financial and otherwise--can mount much higher. Estimates of the cost of cigarettes alone run from between $2,000 and $3,000 a year. The indirect expenses related to smoking, such as extra cleaning costs for cars and clothes, can add substantially to this tab.

The biggest costs of smoking are, of course, health-related. Higher healthcare costs due to increased health insurance premiums are one way that smokers pay more. Smokers also have costs that can't be easily quantified, such as compromising their quality of life and longevity.

Do Your Homework
When it comes to the costs associated with quitting smoking, it's important to do your research and explore your options. Your ultimate decision should take into account more than just the price tag--you should also consider which method is most likely to work for you. It's only helpful to invest money in your efforts to quit smoking if you pick an approach that will help you quit for good.

  • Smoking cessation aids. Nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, nasal sprays, and inhalers generally cost between $30 and $100 per month. Sprays and inhalers require a prescription.
  • Prescription medications. The New York Times reports that common smoking-cessation drugs can cost between $70 and $200 a month. Some are available in generic form, which can help keep costs lower.
  • Support groups. Prices vary for counseling and support groups, but these services can usually be obtained at a relatively low cost. Your doctor can help make a referral to these types of groups, which include session-based phone counseling led by trained specialists.

Seek Free Resources
There are many ways to save in your efforts to quit smoking:

  • Check with your health insurance. Depending on your plan, you may find that certain quit-smoking aids--such as patches, inhalers, and sprays--are covered.
  • Ask for samples. Your doctor may be able to provide you with free samples of smoking-cessation aids and prescription drugs.
  • Check websites. Various professional and government organizations, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, offer free resources online to help you quit smoking. Some online sites also offer coupons for prescription drugs.

The Bigger Picture
Invest your time and money wisely by choosing a cessation method that you think will keep you on track to quit. If you start to feel your wallet growing thinner, keep in mind the high costs of smoking. The New York Times reports that you could spend up to $6,000 over two years for a pack-a-day habit--and that doesn't include the additional healthcare expenses related to smoking. Always remember that the costs of cigarettes--your money and your health--are much higher than the cost of quitting.