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Smoking Costs Americans $326 Billion A Year

Smoking is not just bad for your health. It is also a very expensive habit.

According to a January 2015 report from WalletHub, tobacco use in the U.S. leads to around 500,000 premature deaths every year and has total societal costs of at least $326 billion annually. Moreover, according to government data,  smoking-related illnesses have led to over 20 million deaths in the U.S. since 1964, and 2.5 million of these deaths were in nonsmokers who became ill due to  secondhand-smoke exposure.

Given there are over 66 million tobacco users in the U.S. who need to quit this expensive ad unhealthful habit, WalletHub determined actual per-person cost of smoking in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The methodology included figuring the potential monetary losses (such as the cumulative cost of cigarettes over several decades, health care costs, income losses and other expenses) related to smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

The calculations assumed an adult who smokes one pack of cigarettes every day starting at age 18, when a person can legally purchase t. We also assumed a lifespan thereafter of 51 years, taking into account that 69 is the average age at which a smoker dies.

The formula that WalletHub used to determine the total cost of smoking was Out-of-Pocket Costs + Financial Opportunity Cost + Related Health-Care Costs + Income Loss Due to Smoking-Related Issues + Increase in Homeowner’s Insurance Premium + Secondhand Smoke-Exposure Costs.

Source: WalletHub

Breakdown of the costs of smoking

Before moving on to a discussion of the WalletHub analysts, however, let’s take a quick look at the total economic and societal costs of smoking. Shockingly, Americans collectively end up spending a total of $326 billion on smoking every year (as of 2014). This total includes the cost of cigarettes, as well as almost $170 billion in direct health-care costs and over $156 billion in lost productivity because of premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke.

U.S. states with the highest costs from smoking

New York is the state that spends the most on smoking, with an average cost of $48,093 a year per smoker who lives in the Empire State. Massachusetts is the U.S. state that spends the second most per smoker, plunking down an average of $44,491. Far northern Alaska is third on WalletHub’s list, spending an average of $43,993 per person on smoking in 2014. Hawaii came in fourth on the list at an average of $42,878 per smoker, and Connecticut spent the fifth most of any state per smoker at an average of $41,924.

Overall Rank

State

Total Cost per Smoker

Out-of-Pocket Cost
(Rank)

Financial Opportunity Cost
(Rank)

Health-Care Cost per Smoker
(Rank)

Income Loss per Smoker
(Rank)

Other Costs per Smoker
(Rank)

41 Vermont $38,143 $2,806
(43)
$26,538
(43)
$4,233
(46)
$4,356
(31)
$210
(26)
42 District of Columbia $38,225 $2,669
(40)
$25,237
(40)
$4,535
(47)
$5,539
(47)
$246
(39)
43 New Jersey $38,296 $2,711
(41)
$25,638
(41)
$3,938
(41)
$5,765
(50)
$245
(37)
44 Washington $38,317 $2,852
(45)
$26,973
(45)
$3,462
(36)
$4,824
(40)
$206
(24)
45 Minnesota $38,705 $2,852
(44)
$26,970
(44)
$3,766
(40)
$4,866
(41)
$251
(40)
46 Rhode Island $40,951 $3,011
(47)
$28,468
(47)
$4,698
(48)
$4,514
(33)
$261
(43)
47 Connecticut $41,924 $2,997
(46)
$28,340
(46)
$4,734
(50)
$5,592
(48)
$262
(44)
48 Hawaii $42,878 $3,226
(49)
$30,508
(49)
$3,435
(35)
$5,456
(46)
$253
(41)
49 Alaska $43,993 $3,249
(50)
$30,722
(50)
$4,074
(44)
$5,746
(49)
$202
(22)
50 Massachusetts $44,491 $3,205
(48)
$30,307
(48)
$5,283
(51)
$5,428
(45)
$268
(45)
51 New York $48,093 $3,674
(51)
$34,743
(51)
$4,709
(49)
$4,695
(36)
$272
(48)

U.S. states with the lowest costs from smoking

Louisiana has lowest costs per smoker of any U.S. state, with an average cost of $24,160. Tobacco growing state Kentucky has the second lowest costs, with the total average cost per smoker in 2014 totaling to $24,279. Missouri came in third on WalletHub’s list, with an average cost per smoker of $24,596. West Virginia, which has one of the highest smoking rates in the country, sees each smoker in the state costing an average of $24,625 annually. Another big tobacco growing states, North Carolina, has the fifth lowest costs per smoker among U.S. states, spending an average of $24,471 for each smoker.

Overall Rank

State

Total Cost per Smoker

Out-of-Pocket Cost
(Rank)

Financial Opportunity Cost
(Rank)

Health-Care Cost per Smoker
(Rank)

Income Loss per Smoker
(Rank)

Other Costs per Smoker
(Rank)

1 Louisiana $24,160 $1,724
(2)
$16,305
(2)
$2,262
(4)
$3,599
(8)
$270
(46)
2 Kentucky $24,279 $1,765
(6)
$16,691
(6)
$2,186
(1)
$3,467
(4)
$170
(2)
3 Missouri $24,596 $1,662
(1)
$15,715
(1)
$3,185
(28)
$3,821
(15)
$214
(29)
4 West Virginia $24,625 $1,777
(7)
$16,802
(7)
$2,568
(10)
$3,326
(3)
$152
(1)
5 North Carolina $24,771 $1,737
(4)
$16,422
(4)
$2,672
(13)
$3,735
(11)
$205
(23)
6 Georgia $24,928 $1,749
(5)
$16,543
(5)
$2,466
(8)
$3,947
(20)
$223
(31)
7 Tennessee $25,078 $1,826
(10)
$17,268
(10)
$2,227
(3)
$3,570
(6)
$188
(12)
8 South Carolina $25,281 $1,820
(9)
$17,212
(9)
$2,432
(7)
$3,603
(9)
$214
(28)
9 Mississippi $25,442 $1,880
(14)
$17,779
(14)
$2,400
(5)
$3,157
(1)
$227
(32)
10 Alabama $25,597 $1,862
(13)
$17,609
(13)
$2,416
(6)
$3,481
(5)
$229
(33)