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How Much Does Smoking Cost and How Does Society Pay for It?

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On May 27, 2019

How Much Does Smoking Cost and How Does Society Pay for It?

Smoking costs individuals and the society. Data available from research shows smoking and related health care costs to drain society of resources.

It is not exactly humorous to accommodate one of the most common guilty pleasures that people have-smoking. We all have our own guilt trips that give us escape routes. Smoking is an escape route that enables us to seek refuge in a bad habit and bleeds us in different ways. First there are the obvious effects on health- both physical and psychological. Second there are issues of lifestyle that slowly lead us adrift from our routine lives, lead us astray and at times lead us into remote corners of life where there is absolutely nobody around to help us. The more prudent way to reframe this situation is to take a long hard look at the data available on economics of smoking and the consequent effects that run parallel to the costs.

What do the Numbers on Smoking Suggest?

Data available on the costs of smoking from the American Cancer Society capture the problem in an insightful manner.

  • Data on total expenditure incurred by various nations on healthcare and treatment of tobacco related diseases, collected by the society shows that USA tops the list at $133 billion, followed by France at second position at $16.6 billion, United kingdom at $9.5 billion, China at $6.2 billion and Canada at $2.8 billion.
  • United States of America by implicit rationale thus leads all nations in bearing opportunity costs worth the equivalent amount of $133 billion that could otherwise be productively channelled into avenues of education, transport, public safety and rural development.
  • Until five years ago,smoking was the single largest reason behind preventable disease and premature death and unfortunately unto this day trends do not show any reason for optimism. 45 million Americans still smoke!
  • The total productivity loss and health care costs of smoking in the United States amounts to $289 billion. In other words this is the quantum of income that could otherwise be added to the GDP of USA had better sense prevailed on the smokers!
  • While the average price per packet of cigarettes in the U.S stands at $6.36, the smoker is estimated to bear an additional $35 per packet of cigarettes that he smokes, taking the real costs of smoking and health care to $41.6.
  • The average expenditure incurred by a U.S household on smoking stands at $380 per annum. This expenditure easily exceeds the expenditure on fresh fruit and milk combined!
  • With the currently existing tax slab in the U.S, a smoker bears a tax burden of 50 cents per cigarette. Assuming that the smoker smokes 2 packs of cigarettes a day it amounts to $140 per week or $7280 per annum. The amount assumes significance in the light of knowledge that it can suffice for a car or a memorable vacation.
  • At present the total number of casualties arising from the habit of smoking is estimated to be 5 million per year. Another 38,000 deaths are estimated to be caused by passive smoking.

Vaping is a Cheaper Way for Your Health, Pocket and Life

If all the insights stated above are indeed inhaled at one go, it makes for a very unpleasant and sorry state of mind. Given that the deaths happening from smoking can be prevented should be enough for smokers across the world to ponder over alternatives like vaping that are cheaper. Money is precious, so is time and there is nothing more precious than life itself. Vaping is a cheaper way indeed. Vaping is easier on the economy of the individual and augurs better for the economy of the nation. It has obvious benefits over smoking that is, as seen above a drain on the economy and its resources. Life may not necessarily be long but does not have to impose a fiscal burden that smoking does and hence can be far less of a drag on the individual and the nation.

Last modified: May 21, 2019

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