Report: Smoking Costs in California Average $1.5M Per User
Residents of California and other states could save millions of dollars in tobacco-related personal costs, such as health care and insurance premiums, if they quit smoking, according to a study by WalletHub, CBS' "MoneyWatch" reports.
Details of Study
For the study, researchers calculated the potential cost of smoking by projecting expenses for individual smokers if they bought one pack of cigarettes daily from ages 18 to 69, the average age of death for smokers. Estimated costs were based on the per-pack price in each state.
The researchers then calculated the amount of return smokers would have earned if they instead invested their tobacco money in the S&P 500.
Overall, the study found that smokers spend an average of $1.4 million in lifetime personal costs.
The largest portion of costs were related to buying tobacco, while the rest included costs associated with medical care, lower wages and cigarette taxes (Picchi, "MoneyWatch," CBS, 1/20).
California ranked 35th nationwide, with $1.5 million in total costs per smoker, including:
- About $1.06 million in tobacco costs;
- $188,368 in medical care;
- $243,352 in income loss; and
- $14,336 in other costs.
In comparison, Alaska had the highest lifetime costs at $2.03 million per smoker, while South Carolina had the lowest costs at $1.09 million (Bernardo, WalletHub, January 2015).
ALA Urges Stronger Tobacco Control Policies in Calif.
In related news, a new American Lung Association report found that while California has made strides in tobacco control policies, the state needs to do more moving forward.
According to the report, California in 2014 earned a:
- "B" grade for its smoke-free air policies;
- "D" grade for inadequate coverage of smoking cessation and treatment services; and
- "F" grade for insufficient tobacco prevention and control program funding.
Meanwhile, an accompanying report card released by the ALA in California graded the state's 482 cities and 58 counties on tobacco control policies, such as:
- Reducing tobacco sales; and
- Smoke-free outdoor air and housing.
The local report card found that while 40 California municipalities in 2014 adopted new tobacco control policies, 324 cities and counties received an "F" for their efforts (American Lung Association release, 1/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.