dollar bills with cigarettes

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. But what you may not know is just how much it costs to keep a smoking habit going. Paying for packs of cigarettes on a daily and weekly basis adds up to significant sums of money over months and years.

But the cost of buying cigarettes is just the tip of the iceberg, when you consider the total cost of smoking. Smokers end up spending more than nonsmokers in many areas, from dental care to homeowner's insurance. And don't forget to factor in the biggest cost of all: lost years of life. When you do the count, the numbers may surprise you.

Cigarette Costs
An average pack of 20 cigarettes costs around Rs.100. For a pack-a-day smoker, the weekly cost of Rs.700 may seem manageable. But when you consider the long-term, the financial sacrifice that smokers make becomes clearer. One month of smoking a pack a day can cost Rs.3000, which balloons to Rs.36,500 over the course of a year. For the amount that you pay for 10 years of smoking--more than Rs.4,00,000--you could buy a new car!

Health-related Costs
There are many ways that smokers end up paying more for health-related services. Smokers are at higher risk for developing medical problems than nonsmokers, and this risk is reflected in higher health insurance premiums. Since smokers often have more medical problems than nonsmokers, they must pay more on doctor's visits and expensive prescription drugs. Smokers also spend more on dental care and dental products than nonsmokers, since smoking stains and damages gums and teeth.

House-related Costs
Smokers run more of a risk of burning down their own house than nonsmokers, and so must pay more on their home insurance premiums. Most home insurance policies give nonsmokers a discount of 10 percent. Additional hits to the homeowner's wallet may come in the form of decreased home value, since the smell of cigarettes can leach into the walls and may make a property less desirable to potential buyers. For this reason, smokers can rack up more cleaning costs and the possessions in a smoker's house may even lose value.

Car-related Costs
Studies show that smokers have a greater chance of getting into a car accident than nonsmokers. Therefore, they must pay higher premiums for their car insurance. According to www.costofsmoking.com, nonsmokers often receive a discount of around five percent. Another potential cost is in car resale value. The smell left behind from a regular smoker can decrease the car's trade-in value, and smokers have to spend more to keep the inside of the car clean.

Life Expectancy Costs
There is no resource more valuable than the days of your life. Researchers have estimated that habitual smokers significantly decrease their life expectancy. A study conducted at the University of Cartagena in Spain found that smoking might cut 7.13 years off a man's life, and 4.5 years off a woman's life. Separate studies have devised calculations to translate these lost years into a dollar amount: a study published in the Journal of Health Economics estimates the mortality cost as high as $222 per pack.

Now that you know the true cost of smoking, can you really afford it?