Here's How Much You're Paying to Smoke Cigarettes in Each State

By RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter

January 9, 2019

The real cost of smoking, state-by-state

Smoking cigarettes has been known to be terrible for your health and wallet for a long time. Tobacco use by Americans account for nearly 500,000 deaths every year and is the leading cause of lung cancer according to the American Lung Association. 

Since 1964, more than 20 million people have died from smoking-related illnesses with 2.5 million of those being nonsmokers who developed diseases from secondhand-smoke exposure, according to the Surgeon General. 

Smoking costs people more than their health, they're also burning through a lot of money. Experts estimate that smoking costs the U.S. more than $300 billion every year in medical care and lost productivity. 

In an effort to help the estimated 37.8 million tobacco users across the U.S. kick the habit in the new year, WalletHub looked at how much it costs people to smoke across the country. The study looked at how much smokers are spending on average in each state on cigarettes in their lifetime, as well as how much people are spending on potential health problems in each state. 

If you like to light up while you're in Georgia, Missouri, or North Carolina, you'll want to kick that habit sooner rather than later. Smoking costs people up to $27,000 per year in out-of-pocket, financial opportunity, and healthcare costs. 

The air is a bit clearer in places like Connecticut, New York, and the District of Columbia with smokers there only spending between $3,600 and $3,800. 

New York boasts some of the highest taxes on cigarettes in the nation, at $4.35 per pack, with residesnts in New York City needing to pay an additional $1.50-per-pack tax. 

Chicago is the only other U.S. city where cigarettes get more expensive, with smokers paying a $6.16-per-pack tax there. 

If you're having a hard time putting the cigarette down, don't worry, you're not alone. John Spangler, a professor at Wake Forest University says the most effective strategy for smokers trying to quit is to have an effective support system. 

"Using smoking cessation medications and getting support from family, friends or health care providers are absolutely the most effective strategies to quit smoking. For some people, the electronic cigarette might also help, but that is still being studied," said Professor Spangler. 

People having trouble quitting should also try using one of the various smoking cessation medications that have become available over the last few years, Spangler said. 

"Medications include the nicotine gum, lozenge or patch; as well as non-nicotine medications such as bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), varenicline (Chantix), clonidine and nortriptyline. It has been shown that combining medications is even more effective. However, the non-nicotine medications require a prescription," said Spangler. 

People should also enlist the help of a 'cheerleader' and not a 'drill sergeant' while they're trying to quit, Spangler suggests. 

"I tell patients to find a "cheerleader" (not a "drill sergeant") who can encourage you with both successes and slip-ups. Sometimes this is a spouse; but sometimes, this is NOT a spouse," said Spangler. 

Photo: Getty Images

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