smart spending

How much do bad habits cost?

Smoking cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes © Romanchuck Dimitry/Shutterstock.com
  • Yearly cost: $2,555
  • Savings after 30 years of compounding interest: $201,994

Cigarettes retail for about $5 to $12 a pack, depending on where you live. But factor in increased medical expenses, insurance costs and the impact of secondhand smoke to society, and the real price increases dramatically. Researchers from Duke University and the University of South Florida estimate that, for a woman, the all-inclusive cost of smoking over a lifetime is $106,000; for a man, $220,000. This includes social costs imposed on others via Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Richard Kappers, director of marketing at Cigna, says smoking not only drives up life insurance costs by 20 percent and increases health insurance expenses, it can also impact your ability to qualify for either.

But renouncing the habit pays off. Quitting smoking at age 39 can reduce the "excess risk of death from any cause" by up to 90 percent, according to a January 2013 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, and can qualify you for the same insurance rates as nonsmokers, says Kappers.

"Generally, they want you to be tobacco-free for 12 months before you can get the nonsmoker rates," he adds.

It's difficult to put a price on smoking for an individual. Considering just the cost of the cigarettes themselves, smoking a pack a day at $7 a pack will leave you $2,555 lighter in the wallet per year. If you instead invest that amount annually, after 30 years, you will have amassed $201,994, assuming a 6 percent return.

advertisement

Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
MORTGAGE HOME EQUITY AUTO CDs CREDIT CARDS
Product Rate Change Last week
30 year fixed, 0 point 4.30%  0.05 4.25%
15 year fixed, 0 point 3.29%  0.03 3.32%
5/1 ARM 3.45%  0.18 3.63%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
30K FICO-based HELOC 4.38%  0.08 4.46%
50K FICO-based HELOC 4.11%  0.06 4.17%
100K FICO-based HELOC 3.96%  0.03 3.93%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
60 month used car loan 2.73%  0.02 2.71%
48 month used car loan 2.97%  0.05 2.92%
60 month new car loan 3.22%  0.05 3.17%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
1 Year CD 0.91%  0.01 0.92%
2 Year CD 1.08% --0.00 1.08%
5 Year CD 1.74% --0.00 1.74%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
Balance Transfer Cards 15.67% --0.00 15.67%
Cash Back Cards 16.36%  0.01 16.35%
Low Interest Cards 10.87% --0.00 10.87%
 
Next
advertisement
FRUGAL NEWSLETTER

Discover new ways to cut costs and save more every day. Reduce your spending, not life’s pleasures. Delivered weekly.

advertisement
Partner Center
advertisement

Connect with us