Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Economy offers another incentive for kicking the nicotine addiction

November 19, 2008


If improving your health isn’t enough of an incentive to finally kick the smoking habit, maybe money is.

Here’s how the cost of cigarettes adds up for someone who smokes a pack a day:

• At an average cost of $4.50 per pack, that person could instead buy a sub sandwich each day.

• In a week, that adds up to $31.50, or a nice dinner for two.

• In a month, it amounts to $135. Within two months, the person could purchase a Nintendo Wii system, which would give them something else to do with their hands.

• In a year, a person could save $1,643. That’s enough to buy the 50-inch plasma television advertised at Sears this week for $1,399.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansans spent approximately $657 million on cigarettes in 2007.

That’s a chunk of change, and smokers know it.

Aynsley Anderson, community education coordinator for Lawrence Memorial Hospital, teaches smoking cessation classes and said money can be a motivator.

“I almost always hear from at least somebody in the class who says, ‘I just can’t afford this anymore.’ When they think about the money that they are throwing away on it, it really is pretty staggering,” Anderson said.

She advises those who are trying to quit to put their savings from not buying cigarettes into a jar and watch it pile up.

“It’s just one of those expenses that they just eat — thinking ‘I have to have this,’” she said. “But it can be a significant amount of money and it’s not going to get any less.”

With the holidays approaching and the economy in the tank, are smokers willing to give up their expensive habit? Not necessarily.

Outside Aimee’s Cafe & Coffeehouse in downtown Lawrence, Dan Smoley, 64, was smoking a Camel cigarette. He spends about $4 per day on the habit that he picked up at age 17.

“I spend more than I should,” he said, blaming the state government for penalizing smokers with higher taxes. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius wants to increase the state cigarette tax another 50 cents to help pay for health care reforms. It would raise the tax from its current rate of 79 cents per pack to $1.29. The state’s current cigarette tax ranks 33rd in the nation and well below the national average of $1.19 per pack.

Still, Smoley is not happy about it, but he will pay more if necessary.

“I have no apologies for being addicted to caffeine, nicotine and gasoline,” he said. “I don’t want to live without any one of those three.”

He has no plans to participate Thursday in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, but supports those who do. It’s just not for him, he said.

It’s also not for 48-year-old Genelle Denneny, who started smoking at age 19.

“I just quit trying to quit because it was too depressing,” she said while puffing on a cigarette outside Liberty Hall with a co-worker.

Denneny said she spends about $30 per week on cigarettes.

“It’s a fairly expensive habit, but I don’t mind paying for it. I mean it’s a vice,” she said.

Smoking isn’t only costly for smokers, but everyone else as well.

In 1999, the American Cancer Society estimated heath care costs associated with each pack of cigarettes sold. Adjusted for inflation, $4.53 was spent on medical care because of smoking and $4.90 was lost in workplace productivity, for a total cost to society of $9.43 per pack.

Over the course of their lives, smokers and former smokers generate an estimated $501 billion in excess health care costs nationwide. Tobacco costs Medicare more than $10 billion per year.

“Quitting tobacco is good for your health and your wallet,” said Candace Ayars, director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Tobacco Use Prevention Program. “This is an especially good time to quit as the dropping temperatures make outdoor smoke breaks more uncomfortable and money saved during these trying economic times can help alleviate household budget stresses around the holidays.”


Tony Holladay 8 years, 10 months ago

They can raise it to $100 a pack and I'll still but them because I'm ADDICTED to them!!!!

Tony Holladay 8 years, 10 months ago

but = buy Sorry, I was jonesin and wasn't thinking properly.

compmd 8 years, 10 months ago

“I have no apologies for being addicted to caffeine, nicotine and gasoline,” he said.Perhaps it was the consumption of gasoline that addled this poor man's brain.

jonas_opines 8 years, 10 months ago

Gasoline aside (which most of us should admit to being addicted to), I prefer an addiction to nicotine and caffeine that an addiction to Zoloft and Prilosec. But that dude's been smoking for 50 years, from back when smokes were good for your health.

ridinthefence 8 years, 10 months ago

If you get a few months under your belt you got it licked. Then your stubborness kicks in if you got spunk. Go to the classes, chew on straws, wear a patch. It worked for me. Or watch a loved one die from a smokers cancer, pretty powerful reinforcement. $4.50 a pack? wow

slang4d 8 years, 10 months ago

There are things that cost a lot more money and cause more stress than cigarettes- they're called children. Stop having them and you can magically pay your bills! You also get the wonderful incentive of time which money can't buy. Purchased by the carton, they're more like $3.50 a pack. I'm totally tired of hearing about this....we KNOW about the detrimental health effects and how expensive it is.

Eric Neuteboom 8 years, 10 months ago

As a former smoker (nearly two years now) I have to admit a few things: - The financial savings are nice - The health benefits are tremendous (though i may be a bit thicker around the middle now) - I still have urges, especially after big meals or on a cold night - I smoke an occasional cigar (three a year) - My sense of smell is still recovering, but most has returned. You never know what smells you miss when smoking - I'm happy I quit before having a kidThe key, to me, was convincing myself I wanted to quit. If you can't do that, you're destined to fail. Good luck if you do try to quit, and if you don't, thanks for the tax dollars!

nobody1793 8 years, 10 months ago

If you owned 1200 shares of Altria, their dividend payout would roughly fund 1 pack a day.

Sean Livingstone 8 years, 10 months ago

Anything that is consumed beyond moderation is an addiction. Anything that you consume without thinking of the consequences is an addiction. Any addiction is bad. Gas can be an addiction, fatty food can be an addiction, even vegetable and religion can be addictions! A balance life is a healthy life. If you can smoke, yet can drop it anytime, pick it up again and drop it again, you're fine. You don't have to quit. If you have to smoke and it's affecting your health and wealth, you gotta quit. It's the same with the addiction to bigger house that one cannot afford.

flux 8 years, 10 months ago

If you want to quit, Chantex works really well!!

levicircle2 8 years, 10 months ago

Listen...I'm not a smoker, but this B.S. about "the social cost" of smoking has GOT to stop. The more the misleading and/or inaccurate statements multiply, the greater the loss of credibility will be when they are exposed. Feb. 4th of this year, yet ANOTHER study was released that shows that smokers cost society LESS than non-smokers. Healthy non-smokers cost about $417,000 in health care costs, from age 20 on. The cost of care for obese people was $371,000, and for smokers, about $326,000. The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports was the sponsor of the study.Stanford economist Timothy Taylor, an anti-smoker, made the point in the San Jose Mercury News, March 7, 1994, agreeing that tobacco taxation cannot be justified by the social cost theory.Duke University economist W. Kip Viscusi, in a paper published by National Bureau of Economic Research, calculated a net saving to society of 83 cents per pack.In 1995, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service updated a 1986 Manning study on smoking costs originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The CRS recalculated Manning's 1986 dollars into 1995 dollars. The result: a net saving to society of 15 cents per pack in 1986 became 33 cents per pack in 1995.Smokers die earlier, and die quicker. As morbid as it may be to contemplate, that ends up costing society less in total. Social Security not paid out, Medicare funds not used...they're saving us money, not costing us.

jonas_opines 8 years, 10 months ago

mustbhiorlo: Hush! I picked the first two drugs that came to mind. And how do you know no one's addicted to Prilosec! Just because You're not, doesn't mean you can assume that no one is.;)

slang4d 8 years, 10 months ago

Chantix does work really well, unfortunately it's not covered by most insurance companies.

SassyGirl 8 years, 10 months ago

I am a pack a day smoker. I have tried to quit several times with no luck. All of those so-called smoking cecassion programs do not help everyone. I would like to try Chantix but insurance will not cover it. Funny how they, the insurance companies, will pay for other additions like drugs and alcohol and will even pay for gastro bypass for an over-eater, and not a little pill to help stop smoking. then they complain and fight you when you do get sick.Then there is the lovely state of Kansas-when we got a settlement from the tobbacco companies the Governor squandered the money by balancing the state budget. Maybe she should have spent the money trying to help those who smoke QUIT!!

Confrontation 8 years, 10 months ago

Quit. Cold turkey. It's worked for millions. Anyone can do it. The weak ones don't want to try.

compmd 8 years, 10 months ago

"Purchased by the carton, they're more like $3.50 a pack. I'm totally tired of hearing about this….we KNOW about the detrimental health effects and how expensive it is.."You can buy children by the carton now? Is that how people have septuplets? $3.50 sounds awfully cheap, is that due to the declining economy? And the detrimental health effects, oy, a carton of kids crawling around needing their diapers changed is certainly a biohazard.

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