Despite countless public service campaigns and school education programs warning of the dangers of smoking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 19.3% of Americans age 18 and older still smoke cigarettes.
If the adverse health effects from lighting up aren’t enough to scare you – cigarette smoking causes nearly one in five deaths each year in the U.S. and increases your risk for developing heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other life-threatening diseases – consider the damage it does to your bank account.
To find out how much you’re personally paying for cigarettes in a year, check out this calculator
on the American Cancer Society website. If you pay $6 per pack and smoke 10 cigarettes a day, for instance, you pay about $1,095 each year.
But that’s not all. Smokers often face high doctor’s bills for maladies caused by tobacco use, and some companies even charge higher insurance costs for smokers. Global professional services company Towers Watson recently surveyed 248 mid- to large-size American companies about their employee health management programs, including smoking cessation, and found that 19% of the companies enforced penalties (such as increasing premiums and/or deductibles) on workers in 2011 for not completing the requirements of such health programs. According to the survey, that percentage is expected to double this year.
If you’re looking for ways to finally kick the habit in 2012, consider calling the national hotline 1-800-QUIT-NOW, which provides access to free services such as advice from a cessation counselor, a personalized quit plan and self-help materials. You can also get help via your smartphone with apps such as Quit Smoking Pro on the iPhone (99 cents) and QuitNow!, which is free on Android phones.