What is the Literal Cost of Tobacco Addiction?

Local News

The cost of smoking tobacco is pretty common knowledge this day and age: cancer, heart disease; the list goes on. But what about the literal cost?

In today’s Your Health First, we break down how big of a toll a smoking addiction can take on your wallet.

Because it’s such an expensive, in-depth study, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids hasn’t crunched the numbers since a study conducted between 2000 and 2003.

But adjusted for inflation, for 2019, the cost of medical expenses for all North Dakota smokers combined, was $326 million.

The state also keeps track of the cost of smoking-attributable productivity loss, meaning money lost when employees have to take off work for smoking-related sicknesses.

That cost for 2019 was $232.6 million.

The North Dakota Department of Health’s Director of Tobacco Prevention and Control said these numbers aren’t perfectly accurate, and the cost is likely higher. But he’s not surprised by the price tag.

He said even the out-of-pocket cost to keep smoking is expensive.

“I’m a former smoker myself. I smoked a pack a day for 18 years, and when you start thinking about how much a pack costs, the average is 5 or 6 dollars and that’s even here with the low tax. And if you look at a pack a day and you average that out over the year, you’re talking a significant amount of money,” shared the Director, Neil Charvat.

These costs are just for smoking tobacco. The data does not include the cost of smokeless tobacco or e-cigarettes.

Charvat stressed that smoking is not just a habit, it’s an addiction. He said it’s expensive, but it’s not expensive to quit.

For state resources, call 1-800-QUIT NOW, or click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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