Tuesday, December 18, 2012


The costs of smoking go even beyond your health

There can't be one person left in the world that doesn't know smoking is a health hazard. The effects of tobacco and nicotine have been well documented:
Lung cancer, bladder cancer, asthma, emphysema, circulatory problems, not to mention prematurely wrinkled skin, bad breath, yellow teeth, and tooth and gum disease.

Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics reveal that in Connecticut, 15.9% of the adult population — over 428,000 individuals — are current cigarette smokers, and 9.8 % of youth ages 12-17 years smoked a cigarette in the past month.
Backus Health System Registered Respiratory Therapist Annette McDonald, one of the certified facilitators for the American Lung Association "Freedom From Smoking" cessation classes, has prepared a list delineating the consequences of smoking on the wallet.  This might provide more of an incentive to quit.

At $8.50 per pack, if you smoked one pack per day it costs:

•  $59.50 per week
•  $255 per month
•  $3,102.50 per year
•  $15,512.50 in five years
•  $31,025.00 in 10 years

What can you buy if you saved that money instead of smoking?

•  One pack of cigarettes = eight songs for your iPod on iTunes at 99 cents per song
•  In one week you would have enough money for dinner for two.
•  In one month you would have enough money for a car payment.
•  In one year you would have enough money for a vacation.
•  In 5 years you could buy a compact car.
•  In 10 years you would save enough for a down payment on a house.

When some people see these figures, it can have a bigger impact than hearing health hazard statistics.  No matter how you look at it — the cost of smoking is not worth it, healthwise or in our pocketbook.

Start the new year right by taking a smoking cessation class, which are offered at local hospitals. Quit smoking and start reaping the health as well as the financial benefits.
Alice Facente is a community education nurse for the Backus Health System. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at www.backushospital.org/backus-blogs or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at healthyliving@wwbh.org.   

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