The health cost of smoking has manifold angles. It takes in the cost to society as a whole and to the individual smoker and their family on the basic level. Of course, some smokers would argue that nonsmokers also add to health care costs since they live longer.
The Individual Costs
There are many additional costs that smoking adds to an individual’s expenses. The first of course is the cost to purchase the cigarettes. Each pack of cigarette is money that could have been saved or used for something else.
Smokers generally have to pay more for health insurance. They are considered high risk by insurers since smoking is known to cause some forms of cancers. Often their premiums far exceed what non-smokers pay for coverage.
The Cost to Society
Because smokers tend to have poorer health than nonsmokers, they place greater burden on the health system. Many of them develop cancers, heart disease and respiratory diseases. These lead to extended hospitalization and surgeries, and more often than not, they have to be on medication for life. The cost is mind-boggling considering the number of smokers as well as nonsmokers affected by passive smoke.
In 2009, figures reportedly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the cost of smoking for direct health care was $96 billion annually. Added to this was the projected loss in productivity of $97 billion per year. It is easy to see that this can have a negative impact on any economy.
In addition to the financial costs, there are also the emotional costs resulting from smoking. Many families have been destroyed after losing loved ones to smoking related illnesses. Children have had to see parents suffer from various illnesses that are directly related to cigarette smoking such as emphysema.