Do you know how much you could save if you quit smoking?

If someone offered you a big bucket of money, would you take it? What if you found $1,934.50 in your pocket — already yours, to do with as you wish? Would you take a trip to sunny Spain? Buy a fancy 55-inch curved-screen HD TV?

If someone offered you a big bucket of money, would you take it? What if you found $1,934.50 in your pocket — already yours, to do with as you wish? Would you take a trip to sunny Spain? Buy a fancy 55-inch curved-screen HD TV?

Well, that’s what you could get, if you give up a pack-a-day cigarette habit and save the money for one year.

You’ve heard the health benefits of quitting: Years added to your life, life added to your years. Now SmokeFree.gov has added a calculator to its website that shows smokers how much money they can save if they kick the habit.

The $1,934.50 figure is based on smoking 20 cigarettes a day, or one pack, at the national average price of $5.31 per pack. Prices vary, of course, based on such things as brand, taxes and volume savings through purchasing cartons.

Using that per-pack price, you’d save $37.17 a week — enough for a movie and popcorn with your sweetie — and $159.30 a month — which is the going lease price for a 2014 Mazda3, Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.

Calculating further, with a 6 percent annual cigarette price increase factored in, quitting now and pocketing what you would have spent on smokes would give you $25,546 over 10 years. That’s roughly the national average cost for a wedding, according to market research firm The Wedding Report.

The pack-a-day savings plan, carried out over 20 years, would hit $71,296 — more than enough to pay for a four-year public college degree. Using the College Board’s published rates for 2014, the national average net price for in-state tuition, fees, room and board was $12,620, which would total $50,480 over four years. You would have enough saved to pay for the five-year plan. Perhaps even a semester abroad.

Keep in mind that none of these scenarios take into account the power of investing or earning interest on the savings, or anything like that. This is just a hypothetical exercise to help you visualize the high price of smoking.

And think about this: If your habit adds up to more than a pack a day — maybe between you and your spouse it’s more like three packs a day — you could amass staggering savings by quitting now and bankrolling what you would have spent on cigarettes.

Just how staggering? Drumroll, please: In 20 years, the money saved would total $213,888. That’s just over the $211,103 that the U.S. government estimates it will cost to raise a child born in 2000, from birth to 18, living in a typical middle-class Midwestern home.

And you’re planning to be around to see that kid graduate, right? You might want to put some of those cigarette savings into a retirement fund, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nonsmokers live, on average, 10 years longer than smokers.

Those who quit can lower their risk of premature death if they remain quitters and adopt healthier lifestyles, according to the CDC, which notes that tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death.

Over time, quitters greatly lower their risk of death from heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer and at least 13 other kinds of cancer, the CDC reports.

Smokers also face other health risks. For instance, studies by Tufts University in Boston show smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth than nonsmokers. The Academy of General Dentistry reports that someone who starts smoking a pack a day at age 18 is likely to lose between four and five teeth by age 35.

Tobacco use is linked to at least $133 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity each year in the United States, according to the CDC.


Need help quitting?

Norton Healthcare offers a free 13-week smoking cessasion class that meets one hour a week. The next sessions of the successful Cooper/Clayton Method to Stop Smoking begin in January at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Norton Brownsboro Hospital. Call (502) 629-1234 to register.

Make the commitment to quit! View the resources available for tobacco users through Norton Healthcare.


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