I first started thinking of this topic on a recent trip I took for business. On the door of the bathrooms in the airplane there was an ash tray. I found this quite ironic considering the flight was non-smoking and it was illegal to smoke in the airplane bathrooms. The penalty for tampering with the smoke detector serious fines.
Then recently someone mentioned that they had saved a lot of money because they quit smoking. This peaked my curiosity. I did a simple search on Google to look up the cost for a pack of cigarettes and came across this article from 2014 which said that a pack of cigarettes in Texas cost $6.69.
I thought for sure this had to be on the high end. I personally theorized a pack of cigarettes in Texas would be close to $5.50 or less. So to test my theory I called 3 local gas stations and asked them what a pack of cigarettes cost. I found the costs were $6.00, $7.35, and $5.75 for the same pack of Marlboro cigarettes. The average cost of Marlboro cigarettes at those three gas stations was $6.37 per pack.
Simple Math To Figure Out the Cost of Cigarettes
So let’s do some simple math here as to the cost of cigarettes. What would smoking cigarettes for 30 years cost you?
Scenario 1: Assuming a person smokes one pack a week for 52 weeks a year and smoke for 30 years the total cost is $9,937.20. That means you spent $331.25 a year spent on cigarettes.
($6.37 x 1 pack x 52 weeks x 30 years = $9,937.20)
Scenario 2: I thought to myself what if I increased consumption to 3 packs a week? Three packs a week adds up to $29,811.60 in 30 years. That means you spent $993.72 a year spent on cigarettes.
($6.37 x 3 packs x 52 weeks x 30 years = $29,811.60)
Scenario 3: Increase the consumption to 7 packs a week or one pack a day? The total cost adds up to $69,560.40 in 30 years. That means you spent $2,318.68 a year spent on cigarettes.
($6.37 x 7 packs x 52 weeks x 30 years = $69,560.40)
Question: What if instead of buying and consuming cigarettes you’d invest that money?
Interestingly enough this investment calculator was the first to pop up on my Google search.
If you were to take Scenario 1 and instead of spending $27.60 a month on cigarettes invest the money at 7% annual rate of return for 30 years you would have $33,475.34.
If you were to take Scenario 2 and instead of spending $82.81 a month on cigarettes invest the money at 7% annual rate of return for 30 years you would have $100,438.29.
If you were to take Scenario 3 and instead of spending $193.22 a month on cigarettes invest the money at 7% annual rate of return for 30 years you would have $234,351.85.
Keep in mind this does not account for inflation. It also doesn’t take into account the financial consequences of lung cancer, tongue cancer, throat cancer, skin cancer, or other terrible diseases that can impact a person who smokes. Smoking can also significantly impact those who live around the smoker with 2nd hand smoking. Health challenges in children particularly can be compounded by 2nd hand smoking. For parents in particular this should be reason enough to quit.
The U.S. surgeon General’s report in 2006 concluded that there is no safe level of second hand smoking and that on average children are exposed to more second hand smoking than adults.