The deadly habit of cigarette smoking costs more in New York State than anywhere in the nation, according to a new report by WalletHub, the personal-financial website.
It costs more out-of-pocket to smoke in the state than anywhere else in the nation – nearly $195,000 over a lifetime of smoking, according to the report, entitled “The Real Cost of Smoking by State.”
The report’s analysts calculated the potential monetary losses – including the lifetime and annual costs of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses and other expenses – brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
By that measure, WalletHub.com estimates that it costs those in the state more than $2.3 million for someone who smokes a pack a day from age 18 to 69.
Financial costs involved with smoking – a median cost to states of about $1.4 million per lifetime nationwide – is part of what explains why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported there now are more former adult smokers in the U.S. than current ones. Still, an estimated 36.5 million tobacco users remain – boosting their changes of heart attack, cancer, stroke and an early death, and endangering the health of their loved ones, according to the CDC.
According to the CDC, a half-million Americans die yearly because of smoking. More than 16 million live with a smoking-related illness. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness, the federal agency estimates.
WalletHub estimates the societal and economic costs of smoking totals more than $300 billion a year in the U.S., a number that continues to climb. That number includes nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke.
About a week after the WalletHub report was released, the American Lung Association last week issued its 15th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which gave mixed grades to federal and state lawmakers when it comes to discouraging smoking. The association lauded the federal government for giving the FDA more regulatory control over cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes – one the association cautioned could be overturned this year – and criticized the lack of willingness to including cigarette packaging that shows the damage smoking can cause.
The Association criticized New York State for failing to enact a “Tobacco 21” law which would raise the sale of cigarettes to those over age 21. Chautauqua County already has passed such a law and association officials visited Albany on Tuesday to lobby for its passage statewide. The association gave the state an A grade for its comprehensive smoke-free laws.
If you need help quitting, there are several options in Western New York. Among them:
The New York State Quitline: Based at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, this free program offers nicotine patches and coaching support. Call (866) NY-QUITS or visit nysmokefree.com.
Tobacco cessation classes: Stephanie Segal leads these free support classes at Roswell Park. To register, call 845-8667.
Lung Association Freedom From Smoking program: This new highly-interactive online program offers a customized quit plan that allows you to track progress and interact online with others in the program. It also has a phone helpline, 1-800-LUNGUSA. Learn more and sign up at freedomfromsmoking.org. One such class takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s Wellness Connection Center; call 285-2382 to register.
The American Cancer Society: The society shares information about how to quit on its Great American Smokeout page at cancer.org. The site also has a quit smoking app.