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New Mexico Smokers Pay High Price For Habit

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)
January 25, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - We all know smoking cigarettes is an unhealthy 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 that you think about. Just investing five, six, all the way up to $12 a day into the stock market, but 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 New Mexico, smokers pay a fairly high cost for their habit, compared to people in other states.

"New Mexico is going to be on the more expensive side, you're 30th out of the 51 places that we did look at," says Gonzalez. "That's upwards of $30,000 per year. That's going to be $1.5 million over 50-plus years."

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-related illnesses kill about 1.5 million Americans each year.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - NM