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Report: Smoking Can Cost More Than $1 million Over a Lifetime

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A new report says lighting up costs the average New Mexico smoker more than $30,000 a year. (Alvimann/morguefile)
A new report says lighting up costs the average New Mexico smoker more than $30,000 a year. (Alvimann/morguefile)
 By Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ - Producer, Contact
January 21, 2016

PHOENIX - We all know smoking cigarettes is an expensive habit, but have you ever thought about just how much money it costs a person over their lifetime? New research compiled by the online survey company WalletHub determined the average cost to each of America's 66 million tobacco users is between $24,000 and $50,000 a year, depending on where they live.

Jill Gonzalez, analyst and spokesperson with WalletHub, says over a lifetime, that can add up to more than $1 million.

"A lot of times it's not something you think about," says Gonzalez. "Just investing five, six all the way up to $12 a day into the stock market, that's how much money you could be earning. So, forget the Powerball, this could be a one-stop shop for you, if you just quit smoking."

Gonzalez says over 50 years of smoking, the average user will spend between $1.2 million and $2.4 million, depending on where they live and purchase their smokes. WalletHub made the calculations based on buying one pack of cigarettes a day, plus health care expenses, lost income and other financial factors associated with smoking.

She says in Arizona, smokers pay a fairly high cost for their habit, compared to those in other states.

"Arizona is on the expensive side. It ranks 36th out of 51 places," says Gonzalez. "Yearly, people are spending almost $33,000. Price per pack is a lot more expensive so, over time, almost $1.6 million."

Gonzalez says if the cost of smoking doesn't get your attention, consider these statistics, the average smoker who starts at age 18 will only live to age 69, and tobacco kills about half a million Americans each year.

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