The study measured the financial costs of smoking​ a pack a day for a lifetime taking into consideration pricing in New Jersey, health care costs, income losses, and other costs associated with smoking. The compiled data indicated that New Jersey residents spend over $2 million over a lifetime.

Patch summarized the calculations as follows:

  • “Out of pocket costs (average cost of a pack of cigarettes in each state, multiplied by the total number of days)
  • Financial opportunity cost (the return a smoker would earn by investing money instead of spending it on cigarettes)
  • Health care cost per smoker
  • Income loss per smoker (a calculated wage gap of 18 percent between smokers and non smokers)
  • Other costs (including costs of exposure to secondhand smoke)”

Cessation programmes more effective when they highlight the financial burden of smoking

In fact given the financial burdens that come with smoking, a recent cross-sectional survey of 68 male smokers living in a temporary accommodation hostel in Brisbane, Australia, suggested that smoking cessation campaigns promoting the financial savings of cessation may be more effective than ones focusing on health amongst certain groups.

The paper titled, “‘Money up in smoke’: The financial benefits of smoking cessation may be more motivating to people who are homeless than potential health gains,” rightly pointed out that smoking among disadvantaged groups such as people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation, increases the likelihood of poor health outcomes and financial disadvantages.

The survey conducted by the research team looked into the smoking and quit attempt history of the participants, perceptions about smoking cessation and cessation tools. The researchers also inquired about the levels of awareness of the Intensive Quit Support program, a free local government-funded smoking cessation initiative.

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