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Financial cost of smoking in New York highest in the U.S.

Cigarette smoking claims about 480,000 lives in the U.S. annually, including about 42,000 deaths related to secondhand smoking exposure. It also carries a tremendous financial cost – both to smokers and taxpayers – especially in New York State.

Smokers over a lifetime pay more in New York than any other state to continue their deadly habit, and the cost associated with their habit is more costly to state residents than anywhere else in the nation, according to the personal finance website WalletHub, which recently released a report called “The True Cost of Smoking by State.”

The lifetime out-of-pocket cost of smoking per smoker in New York is $187,379, the highest in the U.S., according to the report. The financial opportunity cost – what that smoker could make if investing that money instead – is nearly $1.8 million, also the highest.

Cost over a lifetime – out-of-pocket costs, plus financial opportunity cost, plus related health care costs, lost income, higher insurance rates and secondhand smoke-exposure costs – is more than $2.4 million per smoker, also highest. Read the report at bit.ly/1Pe7g7S.

Meanwhile, the American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control 2016” report gave New York mixed grades when it comes to proven policies that will reduce tobacco use and save lives:

• Tobacco prevention and control program funding: F

• Tobacco taxes: B

• Smoke-free air: A

• Access to cessation services: F

“While New York has a long history of leadership on tobacco control efforts, we still must face the reality that tobacco kills over 28,000 New Yorkers per year and that young people are using tobacco products like e-cigarettes and little cigars is at an all-time high,” Jeff Seyler, president & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, said in a news release.

Find ways to quit by calling the New York Smokers’ Quitline at (866) NY-QUITS 697-8487 or going online to nysmokefree.com.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute also regularly offers free, five-week courses, and booster classes for all who wish to stop smoking. The next course will begin at noon Monday and will feature a former smoker who had a laryngectomy years ago due to smoking. The class is free and open to anyone interested in trying to quit using tobacco. To register or for more information, call 845-8667 or email stephanie.segal@roswellpark.org.

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