The cost of that puff

That nicotine high – a few minutes of feeling good – how much does it actually cost? Tobacco lovers claim it as the ultimate cure-all – from depression to weight gain, a few puffs a day can keep the doctor at bay. A million health warnings are ignored for a few minutes of endorphin rush. Even now, with a virus that increases the risk of adverse symptoms in smokers, the global cigarette market was valued over US$ 960 Billion in 2020.  What is the price one actually pays for tobacco smoking?

Let us find out.

Personal finances

In India, a pack of cigarettes can cost between ₹ 100 and ₹ 3000. A regular smoker who opts for a “decent” brand pack every 3-4 days, ends up spending nearly ₹ 40,000-60,000 in a year.  For a person who starts smoking at 28 and goes on until 58, that is a huge amount. Considering the inflation, price hikes, and tax hikes, that can come to an expenditure of ₹1 crore in 30 years. Now, if one were to invest that amount in a mutual fund SIP at 12% per year, one can earn over ₹1.76 crores in 30 years (ET Money SIP Calculator).

Cost to health & fitness

Did you know that tobacco smoking isn’t really good for your fitness levels? A study on smoking behaviour, exercise routines, and physical fitness (cardiorespiratory and muscular) found that smoking was associated with poor exercise levels and lower physical endurance (Conway & Cronan, 1992). For those who actually believe that smoking can help in weight loss, this study also found no association between the habit and lean body mass or percentage fat.

We all know about the burden of disease associated with tobacco smoking – cardiovascular, cancer, etc.  Researchers claim that smoking one cigarette can reduce life expectancy by 11 minutes and a pack of 20 cigarettes by 3 hours 40 minutes! (Shaw et al, 2000)

Cost to family & friends

Numerous studies have proved the health burden associated with environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoke. According to one study (Öberg et al, 2011), passive smoking contributed to 603,000 deaths, i.e., 1% of global mortality in 2004.

Other expenses

Did you know that smokers pay higher insurance premiums than non-smokers do? Then there is dental hygiene – smokers pay more. In addition, there are cleaning costs for clothes, cars, and homes. People who smoke at home can lose up to 29% in house resale value (realtor.com).

In conclusion

If you choose to smoke tobacco, ask yourself this: Is it worth the cost? We understand that there is stress in life and peer pressure. But the price you end up paying is too high. As we always say, prevention is better than cure, and early treatment is the next best thing.  So, the next time your friend shares a cigarette, say NO.


Works Cited

  • Conway, T. L., & Cronan, T. A. (1992). Smoking, exercise, and physical fitness. Preventive medicine21(6), 723–734. https://doi.org/10.1016/0091-7435(92)90079-w
  • https://www.etmoney.com/tools-and-calculators/sip-calculator
  • Öberg, M., Jaakkola, M. S., Woodward, A., Peruga, A., & Prüss-Ustün, A. (2011). Worldwide burden of disease from exposure to second-hand smoke: a retrospective analysis of data from 192 countries. The lancet377(9760), 139-146.
  • realtor.com. 2018. Should You Buy a Smoker’s House? How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smells. [online] Available at: https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/should-you-buy-a-smokers-house/
  • Shaw, M., Mitchell, R., & Dorling, D. (2000). Time for a smoke? One cigarette reduces your life by 11 minutes. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)320(7226), 53.

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