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Report: Cost of Smoking Huge in Maryland

The financial impact of smoking is huge in Maryland. It's the most expensive state when it comes to lost worker productivity because of tobacco. (Ardelfin)
The financial impact of smoking is huge in Maryland. It's the most expensive state when it comes to lost worker productivity because of tobacco. (Ardelfin)
January 22, 2016

BALTIMORE - Many may have made a New Year's resolution to quit smoking, not only because it's bad for your health but because it's expensive to smoke.

The average cost to each of America's 66 million tobacco users is from $24,000 to $50,000 a year, depending on where they live, according to new research by online survey company WalletHub. Maryland came in 38th out of all the states when it came to total cost, and it's the highest on the list as far as income loss per smoker.

Over a lifetime, said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst and spokeswoman for WalletHub, that can add up to a lot of money.

"A lot of times it's not something you think about," she said. "Just investing $5, $6, 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."

People try to quit smoking every day and fail. Nicotine is nearly as addictive as heroin, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and quitting can take several attempts because of withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability and cravings.

Emily Lee, a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association of the Midland States, said success is possible.

"It may be hard right now but, if you work through it, the long-term benefits way outweigh the struggles you are having right now because the withdrawal is temporary and will subside," she said. "In the long run, there's more health benefits to not smoking."

Smoking, the leading cause of lung cancer, causes about a half million premature deaths in the United States every year.

The report is online at wallethub.com. Information on smoking cessation is at lung.org.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD