The true cost of a pack of cigarettes

A mock giant-sized pack of Marlboro cigarettes. The warning message “Smokers die younger” is easily visible on the side of the box.

Die fast – for less! (Photo Credit: CC BY/Magnus Manske/Wikipedia)

Smoking is a relatively expensive and unequivocally dangerous habit, but few people know the true cost of a pack of cigarettes, reports the European science blog Lab Spaces. According to Spain’s Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT), an average €3 to €4 pack ($4.18 to $5.57, approximately) actually costs €107 ($149) for men and €75 ($105) for women. The explanation for the high numbers should prove to be priceless for anyone who cares about saving money and staying alive.

Premature death is the real cost of a pack of cigarettes

UPCT researcher Ángel López Nicolás said that “The price one pays for each pack of cigarettes at a newsstand is only a very small price of the true price that smokers pay for their habit.” Tobacco use raises the risk of death in smokers, and there are real mortality costs associated. A metric called the Vale of a Statistical Life (VSL) was devised to analyze the problem from a cost-benefit standpoint. Annually, the average price which smokers are “prepared to pay in order to reduce their risk of death” is €3.78 million ($5.26 million) for smokers, compared with €2.91 million ($4.05 million) for non-smoker, said López Nicolás.

According to López, “one must not confuse the cost of premature death with the cost of healthcare. The cost of premature death is borne by the smokers themselves.” That’s a cost no payday loan or similar short term loan could adequately cover.

The true cost of smoking

Factors like taxes and anti-smoking legislation as it applies in public areas are considered to be positive self-control devices for smokers. The UPCT study weighs both the social benefits of smoking deterrence and the deficit of “well-being losses.” In the end, researchers found the well-being losses to be significantly greater than what numbers in the study could suggest.


Lab Spaces

You are one with nature!”

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