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Smoking Costs the Average New York Smoker $24 Million over a lifetime - Wallet Hub Study

Smoking Costs the Average New York Smoker $2.4 Million Over a Lifetime – WalletHub Study

The personal finance website, WalletHub, has released a report this week called The True Cost of Smoking by State.

WalletHub’s analysts calculated potential monetary losses — including the cumulative cost of a cigarette pack per day over several decades, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.


Studies which purport the high cost to society of smoking routinely neglect to factor in the reality that smokers die at younger ages and save society significantly in health care and pension costs.


New York ranks tops on the list for total cost per smoker compared to other states.

The WalletHub analysis is based on a number of assumptions (like any study) including what constitutes the criterion for the largest monetary category: lost financial opportunity due to smoking.

Their summary is as follows:

The Financial Cost of Smoking in New York (1=Lowest, 25=Avg.):

  • Out-of-Pocket Cost per Smoker – $187,379 (Rank: 51st)
  • Financial Opportunity Cost per Smoker – $1,771,868 (Rank: 51st)
  • Health-Care Cost per Smoker – $240,162 (Rank: 49th)
  • Income Loss per Smoker – $239,443 (Rank: 36th)
  • Other Costs per Smoker – $13,883 (Rank: 48th)
  • Total Cost Over a Lifetime per Smoker: $2,452,735

For the full report, please visit:

Diana Popa, Communications Manager for WalletHub, said that their study is intended “to encourage the more than 66 million tobacco users in the U.S. to kick the dangerous habit.”

The US government estimates that 42 million adults and 3 million middle and high school students smoke.

According to the American Cancer Society, Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S..

It is estimated by the New York State Department of Health that there are 443,000 deaths each year in the U.S., including 25,400 deaths in New York State, caused by tobacco use.

The most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke, and many forms of cancer, including lung cancer.

In 1964, the Surgeon General published its first report on smoking and health. Over the next 50 years, more than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking, according to subsequent Surgeon General estimates.

According to the US Surgeon General’s report, about 16 million Americans suffer from a disease caused by smoking and that one out of three cancer deaths is caused by smoking.

Smoking rates among adults and teens is estimated to be less than half what it was in 1964. However, US population has almost doubled, jumping from 191 million in 1964 to 322 million in 2016, which has kept the number of smokers relatively constant.

While the WalletHub study paints a bleak picture of tobacco use costing smokers more than a million dollars apiece (and in NY more than $2.4 million), the $320 billion estimated cost to society figure has been debated.

A study in Europe published in Forbes magazine shows the lifetime cost of health care for smokers and non-smokers were virtually identical since smokers routinely die younger.

When tobacco excise taxes and savings on social security payments are included, the numbers suggest that smoking may actually save society money.

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