Analysis Reveals the Real Cost of Smoking in NJ Worse Than Other States
The potential health consequences aren't enough to make you quit smoking?
Maybe this will help you kick the habit — the "real cost of smoking" over a lifetime, in New Jersey specifically, is $1.83 million, according to a new analysis from personal finance website WalletHub.
To assess the financial impact of tobacco use, WalletHub looked at more than just the cost of a pack or carton of cigarettes. It also took into account healthcare costs, income loss, better ways your money could have been spent, and "other" costs, such as insurance rates.
New Jersey ranks in the bottom half of states across the board.
Ranked as 49th-worst among the states, income loss per smoker totaled more than $300,000 in New Jersey. The report noted research has shown that smoking can impact one's income "because of absenteeism, workplace bias or lower productivity."
Direct medical costs linked to smoking total more than $214,000 per smoker in the Garden State, according to to the report. And if New Jersey smokers had chosen to invest their money in the stock market, rather than spend it on smoking-related expenses, they could each be about $1.16 million richer in the long run.
"There is a great financial opportunity cost to people who are unfortunately addicted," said Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of New Jersey-based Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy. "When something is that addictive, it can have a tendency to kind of take over the decision-making process."
Only 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, registered higher lifetime costs per smoker than New Jersey. At $2.33 million, New York smokers face the biggest tab.
Fourteen percent of adults are current cigarette smokers, according to the state Department of Health. The national rate is 17 percent. Just over 8 percent of New Jersey high school students are smokers.