Give Up Smoking – Or Better Yet, Don’t Even Start

by Justin Weinger on August 28, 2006

I’m not going to rehash all of the physical health benefits of quitting smoking.  I’m not going to remind you that smoking has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and that the average smoker lives seven years less than a non-smoker.

financial benefits of not smoking, the true cost of smoking, save money by not smoking, financial impact of smoking

Don't you think it's time you gave up smoking? Your bank account does.

(Oops, guess I just did.)

What I really want to show you is the horrible effect smoking has on your financial health.

According to TobaccoFreeKids.org, the average price for a pack of cigarettes in the United States is $4.35.  That means that a person who smokes one pack of cigarettes per day spends roughly $1,600 per year on smokes.  That’s a lot of money to be spending on anything, let alone on something that’s so bad for you.

So, what would happen if you invested that money instead?  Below are two scenarios that show how much money you lose out on by lighting up, based on smoking a pack a day for 25 years.

Scenario #1 – Investing in a money market account with an annual yield of 4%:

Year
Balance
5 $9,014
10 $19,980
15 $33,322
20 $49,554
25 $69,302


Scenario #2 – Investing in a mutual fund with an annual yield of 8%:

Year
Balance
5 $10,138
10 $25,033
15 $46,920
20 $79,079
25 $126,331

In the first scenario, by investing the $1,600 that would have been spent on cigarettes, you would be sitting on about $69,000 (pre-tax), instead of being out $40,000 with nothing to show for it except yellow teeth and a nasty cough.  That’s a swing of $109,000 in your favor.

In the second scenario, by investing that same $1,600 in a mutual fund that returns 8% annually, you would have roughly $126,000 instead of being out $40,000.  That’s a swing of $166,000 in your favor.

Even if you don’t invest the $1,600, but use it towards paying down your mortgage sooner, or paying off credit card debt, or rewarding your iron will with a big screen TV, financially you’re going to be much better off than if you let that money go up in smoke.

So, if you can’t quit smoking for the health benefits, at least try it for the financial benefits.  Either way, down the road you’re going to be a lot better off if you kick the habit now – or better yet, you don’t even start.

Guest Post by Iva Marjanovic, Iva is a writer for TotallyMoney.com which is a website that compares mortgages and cheap loans. She also runs a popular personal finance blog where she shares money saving ideas and frugal tips.

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{ 12 comments }

JK87 November 10, 2006 at 5:08 pm

Yeah, um…this math is wrong. Well, the math is fine. the logic is terrible.

You take the $1600 a year and use that for your calculations of the 25 year yield at the various interest rates. That part is fine.

However, since you ALREADY factored in that $1600 spent on cigarettes, you CAN’T then turn around and add up to the total AGAIN by saying “You would have that much, instead of being out that much.” You are factoring in $1600 a year twice. Once with interest, and once without.

Doesn’t work that way, and anyone with even a 4th grade level math level of intelligence should know that.

Jack November 10, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Smoking might be bad for your health, but don’t it feel GREAT! I am not a quitter I can say that proudly, and quitting smoking would be like quitting breathing. Viva la revolution.

Jon November 10, 2006 at 6:14 pm

Hrm, something else people do… they drink pearl milk tea, which also costs in the same ballpark.

Do another post on PMT drinkers!!! lol

Time to break out the DIY PMT kit!

Jerk Face November 10, 2006 at 7:45 pm

I like to smoke and plan on smoking much more in the future. I also sometimes wipe my butt with wads of $20 bills and then smoke them. I’m such an ass.

daver November 10, 2006 at 10:50 pm

If people won’t quit based on the known health effects of smoking, I doubt the money argument would win either. You can’t buy a new heart or set of lungs.

sam November 10, 2006 at 11:45 pm

you know, i smoke. i used to smoke as a calmer or for enjoyment. not im up to two packs a day, i cough up phlegm constantly and i have to hide it from half the people i know. i’m self-employed now, broke as hell, and i’m killing my health and my wallet. those of you that say, “i’m proud of smoking” WAIT UNTIL IT CATCHES UP WITH YOU. you dumbass fuckers. (i’m included)

jim November 16, 2006 at 7:26 am

iduno why i like smoking so much… i’m not physically addicted to it, but every couple of months or so i will be tempted to buy a pack.. this has been going on for 3 years (since i was 15)..

i cant say it’s a psychological addiction either, because when i have a pack i usually go through it in a couple of days, and then i wont so much as *think* about cigarettes for months.

yeah cant figure out why i like them. also nobody i’ve talked to about this can explain it. people either say that i’m addicted and in denial (which doesn’t seem likely — given what i’ve said above) or that i will get addicted soon (but it’s already been 3 years since my first one… hmmm)

Kman November 16, 2006 at 6:22 pm

Printed this out. I’m gonna show this to my aunt, the money market numbers may hopefully put the economics into perspective for her. nice article!

Mike November 26, 2006 at 8:35 pm

good job

Andrea April 3, 2008 at 8:37 pm

For the person who said smokers are great for revenue…think again.

All these smokers are gonna end up with mad health problems meaning more tax dollars going to state health insurances like medicare, amerigroup, medicaid, etc…any other tax is nothing in comparison.

Quit Smoking October 8, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Thanks for this wonderful post! As a female I know that smoking is more harmful to me than it is for men.

neanyBomo September 27, 2009 at 4:53 am

Thank you for great post!

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