If you are a smoker, you are undoubtedly aware of the harmful impact smoking has on your health. The warnings on cigarette packages may be white noise to you, but you know they’re there, and you’re probably well aware that smoking can lead to heart disease, lung cancer, and other smoking-related illnesses.
And as damaging as smoking can be to your health, it also has a considerable negative effect on your financial health. Spending a few euros for a single pack of smokes may seem relatively harmless, but the cost of maintaining this habit long-term is anything but.
How Much Do You Spend?
If you’ve never calculated the cost of your smoking, you may be shocked to find out what it adds up to over an extended period of time. Figure out what you spend in a week, month, and year, as well as over 10-year and 20-year periods and longer. Here is a handy calculator you can use.
Taking the average cost of a pack of cigarettes to be €14, means a pack-a-day habit sets you back €420 per month or €5110 per year. Ten years of smoking comes with a €51,100 price tag if the price remained constant, but of course it does not. It tends to rise with every budget, so if we assume say an average 6% increase per annum the 10 year cost figure grows to €76,505 and over 20 years to €204,363. And if you are paying for these out of after tax income, some people will have to earn twice that amount to feed their habit. Think of all the things you could do if you had saved all that money.
Consider what you are sacrificing to support your smoking habit. Could the money you allocate to cigarettes be put to better use by saving it, funding college for your kids, putting it towards the purchase of a house, contributing to retirement, or spending it on some other needed purchase or a vacation?
Each time you make a cigarette purchase, you are deciding between funding your future or funding a habit that harms it.
The Cost Extends Beyond the Price of Cigarettes
Of course, the expense of smoking goes further than just the price of a pack of your favorite brand. Smokers have to deal with higher premiums for life insurance as well as other ancillary expenses like dental hygiene; increased cleaning costs of homes, cars, and clothing; and lower resale values of property. Add the costs associated with lost productivity while at work or smoking-related sick days, and the financial impact of this habit begins to amass greatly.
The grip of smoking is tough to break, but you have a lot to gain—both financially and otherwise—by kicking the habit. And help is available. Check out https://www.cancer.ie/cancer-information-and-support/cancer-prevention/smoking or https://smokefree.gov/build-your-quit-plan.