Tag Archive for 'Smoking'

You’re more than $27,000 ahead if you don’t smoke!

According to a Danish study as reported in the July 11th edition of The Economist Magazine, the lifetime benefits to men who give up smoking at 35 are around €25,000 ($27,400), most of that in increased productivity. So if you never smoked in the first place… It’s even more than that.

So what’s the moral of this story? Well, there are a few.

  1. First, smoking is a disgusting, repulsive habit. (Does my bias show?)
  2. Second, it is well understood that it’s an expensive habit for “society” that is stuck dealing with all the health costs associated with it. Less well understood are the costs allocated to the individual. The article in The Economist quantifies it scientifically at more than $27,000. I venture to say it’s much higher than that in lost (social and professional) opportunity costs.
  3. Social opportunity costs can be simply summarised by a comment overheard at a coffee shop recently. “Mate, when I kissed her, it tasted like the bottom of an ashtray… Don’t get me wrong, she was gorgeous, but no one’s that attractive!”
  4. Professional opportunity costs are similar. I know for a fact that employers won’t admit publicly that they shun smokers, but they do. Many now are searching social media to confirm a candidate’s non-smoking status prior to short listing prospective interviewees.

I am not advocating the removal of all vices – just this one. It’s a disgusting, repulsive habit that is costly to you and society with no redeeming qualities or benefits that can’t be acquired otherwise.  If you don’t quit, you’re in for a lot more than $27,000.*

* The benefits alluded to in the Danish study do not take into consideration the costs associated with the purchase of the cigarettes that could be put to much better use… But that is another discussion for another day.

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