Here’s the true cost of smoking in Alabama

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There are more than 66 million tobacco users in the United States. It’s no secret, cigarettes can cost smokers a pretty penny, but in Alabama the cost of smoking is a lot less compared with other states.

According to a new report published by the personal finance website WalletHub, the Yellowhammer State ranks as the 10th least expensive state in the country for smokers.

To come up with the rankings, WalletHub calculated the potential monetary losses — including the cumulative cost of a cigarette pack per day over several decades, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The news may come as fuel for the fire to some Alabama legislators — who in 2015 sought to raise taxes on e-cigarettes and vaping in the state to help overcome the budget shortfall — since the out-of-pocket cost per pack of cigarettes ranks as the 13th least expensive in the nation.

What’s more that WalletHub claims Americans collectively spend a total of $326 billion, including nearly $170 billion in direct health-care costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity because of premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke, which contributes to the of health care programs in the state.

Other Alabama findings from the analysis:
  • Total cost over a lifetime per smoker: $1,305,465
  • Out-of-pocket cost per smoker: the average cost of a pack of cigarettes, multiplied by the total number of days in 51 years — $94,974, rank 13th.
  • Financial opportunity cost per smoker: the amount of return a person would have earned by instead investing that money in the stock market over the same period — $898,080, rank: 13th
  • Health care cost per smoker: the annual health care costs incurred from smoking, divided by the total number of adult smokers in each state — $123,213, rank: sixth
  • Income loss per smoker: an average 8 percent decrease in the median household income for each state — $177,525, rank fifth
  • Other costs per smoker: $11,674, rank 33rd

Source: WalletHub
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