How Much Money Can a Person Save by Quitting Smoking?

by Gail Cohen

    Studies for years have confirmed the notion that smoking can seriously harm your health. Even the U.S. government pushes smokers to give up the habit via its U Can Quit 2 website. While the site targets young men and women, diverse advocates are taking the message to other age groups. By appealing to wallets, smoking-cessation proponents figure that if health scares don’t work, perhaps appealing to your financial sense will. The bottom line: You can save a bundle if you quit smoking.

    Save on The Product

    Smokers can compute the amount of money they can save by using the price they pay for their cigarettes and calculating how many cigarettes they smoke daily or monthly, for example. Using a price average of $8.32 per pack, for instance, savings would come to $58.24 weekly, $249.60 monthly and $3,036.80 a year for a pack-a-day smoker. Smoke more than one pack a day? Multiply your cigarette consumption accordingly.

    Save on Health Care

    You can save “as much as $20,000 in lifetime medical bills,” if you stop smoking, reports United Healthcare. Your health can improve immediately. The American Cancer Society says smokers “start to see improved health within 20 minutes.” A report published on the Ivanhoe Medical Breakthroughs website cites a smoking-cessation research project conducted in Spain that calculates the cost of a pack of cigarettes at $138. That’s the value cancer researchers place on a pack after a cost-benefit analysis factors in premature death.

    Save on Taxes

    The price of a pack of cigarettes in California in January 2012 was a little less than $6. Of that total, $1.26 of that amount went to taxes. If you live in New York City, ranked first in cigarette taxes, your per-pack taxes can total $6.46 -- $4.35 goes to the state, $1.50 to New York City, and a prepaid sales tax on every pack adds $0.61. Calculate your own state’s per-package tax tab by checking the sales tax on your receipt and discover exactly how much you can save by quitting smoking.

    Save on Health Insurance

    Health insurance premiums can drop from 10 percent to 40 percent when policyholders quit smoking. SmartMoney.com reports that Aon Hewitt finds that 6 percent of all employers impose penalties on smokers to get them to stop smoking as a way to combat escalating health care costs. One such company is Wal-Mart. In 2012, the company decided to deduct between $260 and $2,340 per year from the paychecks of smoker-employees. A variety of factors, including age, weight and costs associated with previous health claims determine the penalty a staffer sees.

    Save in Other Ways

    “Smokers should expect to lower the resale value of their cars by about $1,000” if they smoke, the government says. Further, if you’re selling your home and potential buyers are put off because of cigarette smells, calculate the amount of money it costs you to keep your house on the market rather than selling it fast to add to the list of money savings you realize by quitting. You may also be able to save 5 percent of the cost of your homeowner’s insurance premium, and some carriers also give a 5 percent no-smoking driver discount when they bill policyholders for their auto insurance coverage.

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    About the Author

    Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.

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