MHLbannersmallA look at the financial cost of smoking

Smoking cessation is a topic you're going to find often in your My Healthy Lifestyle online newsletter. Why? Because when it comes to your health, your productivity and your quality of life, no single behavior holds more risk. And because of the highly addictive properties of nicotine, it's good to know that you're not alone. If you smoke please read these short articles. If you don't, please share them with a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor or a family member who does.

People stop smoking in different ways using different resources. You can be certain that they spend the money they save after they quit in different ways too. And there's more savings than you might think.

The Direct Costs of Cigarettes

The average cost for a pack of cigarettes in Virginia in the second half of 2012 is $4.60. A quick calculation will tell you that you're cigarettetalking about $32 and some change each week based on smoking one pack a day. We could all use a little extra like that, but do the math for a month at a pack-a-day and you're up to a little more than $142. Now you're looking at a nice chunk of change that could translate into tanks of gas, blowout dinners, phone bills and some new clothes.

Hit your first year anniversary of quitting and the numbers are in the neighborhood of $1,700 – and that's a nice neighborhood because you're suddenly seeing flat screen TVs, top-of-the-line computers, appliances, vacations and even car down payments. You get the picture. The longer you're not smoking the longer you're hearing "cha-ching" across a wide range of life's wants and needs. And keep in mind that the cost of the cigarettes themselves is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Hidden Costs of Smoking

Smokers not only spend money on cigarettes, they spend more money than non-smokers on quite a few other things. For example: You smoke and you pay more for life insurance as well as car insurance because statistics show that smokers are involved in more accidents. And when you're ready to trade in the old car, you're very likely to get less for it.

What else? Well, if you're talking re-sale value, there's a very good chance that selling a home will net you considerably less money when it has housed smokers. If you smoke you'll also be spending more on over-the-counter medications, dental care and the ongoing and extra costs of cleaning your clothes, car and house – although getting that "ashtray" smell out is pretty much a losing battle. And after all that, smokers are losing a considerable amount of money because what they would have earned in interest, if they had banked what they saved, goes up in smoke instead.

The Best Reason to Quit

It's always nice to come up with some additional cash, but the best reason to quit, of course, is that you want to be here to enjoy what the extra money can buy. Even more important, you want to be around to do the things you enjoy with the people you love. So pull out your calculator, your phone or count on your fingers and figure out what a smoker can save in money. And then be sure to factor in that extra time you can save, too, the most valuable commodity of all.