The cost of smoking can never be truly determined because of the loss of human life and potential, but it is just a matter of math to determine the cost of smoking if all of the cigarettes smoked over a lifetime were purchased today. You can see the cost of purchasing cigarettes in the table on the right.
Because of inflation, this table would have to be adjusted, making the numbers much higher the longer the person smokes. These numbers are astonishing, but they are only a part of the financial cost. The cost of damage to clothing, furniture, cars, homes and workplace also has to be considered. There is also expense related to lost work time and productivity. Injury related to inattentiveness can be very expensive. In July 2005, Dateline stated that the estimated cost of smoking related to lost productivity was 92 billion dollars. It quoted that 75.5 billion dollars of medical expenses was incurred in 1998. The cost of human suffering cannot begin to be estimated and the cost of lost life can only be enumerated, not estimated. About one-third to one-half of all smokers are killed by their habit and the average lifespan of a smoker is decreased by 12–15 years. This results in nearly 500,000 deaths annually in the United States, which represents about 1,400 people dying each and every day from smoking. Worldwide about 5.4 million people die annually from smoking, equating to over 15,000 people per day. These numbers are projected to increase to 6.4 million by 2015 and 8 to 10 million by 2030.
It is extremely hard to understand intellectually how anyone could decide to smoke or continue to smoke when these statistics are known. It is especially difficult when the benefits financially and physically are so marked in such a short time once someone quits smoking. Looking at the table below, there could be a savings the first month of $170 to $680. This alone is a huge incentive to stop. The physical benefits of smoking cessation are seen in a very short time. Within 20 minutes of the last cigarette, the blood pressure and pulse begin to return to normal. The temperature of the hands and feet will increase to normal. Within eight hours after quitting the carbon dioxide level in the blood drops to normal. Within just 24 hours after quitting, the chance of a heart attack decreases. By the time two weeks to three months pass, the circulation improves and lung function can increase by up to 30 percent. In one to nine months, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath all decrease. The ability of the lungs to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection is greatly improved. The risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker within just one year. Within 5 to 15 years after quitting, the stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker. Ten years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker. The risks of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas are also decreased. The risk of heart disease is that of a nonsmoker about 15 years after quitting.
So clearly there are costs associated with smoking and benefits to not begin or to quit once started. Won’t you think about this or share it with someone who smokes?