Quitting Smoking & Vaping For Dummies
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Almost a half a million people die from smoking-related illnesses each year in the United States alone. Thousands of young people start to smoke or vape every day. Left unchecked, it’s assumed that about 5.6 million of today’s teenagers will die prematurely from smoking.

Smoking costs more than $300 billion a year in both lost productivity and direct healthcare services. Smokers routinely die of lung cancer, cardiac disease, and strokes, among other smoking-related maladies.

We give you these facts not with the purpose of scaring you. You already know smoking causes life-threatening illnesses and wreaks havoc. Just consider using this information to inspire your efforts and realize you’re contributing to a healthier society when you stop smoking.

costs of smoking ©Lightspring/Shutterstock.com

Summing up a financial spreadsheet

What could possibly be worth spending one million dollars each and every hour of each and every day? Tobacco companies spend that amount of money on promotion and advertising in order to get your business and pump up their profits. What’s more important to you is what it’s costing you. Above and beyond the “mere” price of cigarettes themselves, smoking costs much more. For example:
  • Smokers pay more for health and life insurance.
  • Smokers earn about 80 percent of the earnings of nonsmokers.
  • Some employers, especially in the healthcare industry, refuse to hire smokers.
  • Smokers pay more out of pocket for medical care.
  • Smokers use more sick days than nonsmokers.
  • Smokers spend more time and money on washing and cleaning their smelly clothes, homes, and cars.

Comparing costs with vaping

Direct comparisons of the cost of vaping with that of smoking regular cigarettes is difficult. That’s because different vaping devices have quite variable costs and e-liquids come in an array of types and container sizes with their own unique costs. Nonetheless, if consumers shop carefully, they’re likely to discover that vaping costs considerably less than smoking combustible cigarettes.

The issue of health and life insurance policy costs is completely up in the air. Given that vaping is a relatively new phenomena and few studies have been conducted on its long-term safety, insurance companies have not clarified their rules and fixed different premium prices for vaping versus smoking policyholders.

Some insurance companies require a physical exam before offering a policy. Many health and life insurance companies charge a higher premium to smokers. The way insurance companies test for whether you smoke or not is to check nicotine levels. Because most vaping e-liquids contain nicotine, vapers will test positively for nicotine. Thus, smokers who turn to vaping for their reputedly lower risk profile will still face higher premiums.

Calculating the ways you want to spend your windfall

Savings you accrue from not buying endless packs of cigarettes (or other tobacco or nicotine products) mount up rapidly over time — even if you ignore all the considerable funds that aren’t spent on insurance, lost work, and other indirect costs. We strongly recommend that you start putting aside what you would’ve spent on tobacco or nicotine. Watch it grow!

Make a list of spending priorities when it reaches a tidy sum. Post that list in a visible place and look at it often for inspiration. Let’s say that an average cost of a pack of cigarettes in your state runs about $7. If you smoke a pack a day, that comes to about $2,555 per year. The ten-year total accumulates $25,550. You could buy a car with that! There are lots of other things you could do with just one year’s savings, like:

  • Buy a new computer.
  • Buy an amazing TV.
  • Buy a bunch of new clothes.
  • Pay off a credit card.
  • Buy a terrific new appliance.
  • Pay for gym dues for a long time.
  • Take an amazing weekend getaway or a nice vacation.
  • Make a nice donation to the charity of your choice.
The really great thing about these expenditures is that you can almost think of them as free money. It’s money you absolutely would not have accumulated without quitting. Stop burning your money! Give it back to yourself. You’ve earned the right to splurge a bit!

Some people prefer to invest their smoking savings. You can do that in an ultra-safe savings account or go a little wilder and invest in a specific stock or in a mutual fund. It’s amazing how much more that money can grow to if you put it in and let your gains compound over time. Consider reading Personal Finance For Dummies, 9th Edition, by Eric Tyson (Wiley) for more ideas.

Investing for the long term will only work if you find it highly rewarding to watch those returns grow slowly over time. If you’re someone who prefers more immediate gratification, we recommend that you go ahead and be a bit self-indulgent for the highly worthy goal of quitting smoking or vaping.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Charles H. Elliott, PhD and Laura L. Smith, PhD are clinical psychologists with years of experience treating people with emotional problems, including addictions. They are authors of a variety of For Dummies books including Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies and Borderline Personality Disorder For Dummies.

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