Tobacco use costs a Georgia smoker $37,296 a year, analysis finds

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Tobacco use accounts for nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. each year and is the leading cause of lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association. Smokers also may have an increased risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19.

Smoking doesn’t just harm the one who inhales. Since 1964, smoking-related illnesses have claimed more than 20 million lives in the U.S., according to the surgeon general. Of those, 2.5 million were nonsmokers who developed diseases from secondhand-smoke exposure.

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Tobacco use also has big economic and societal costs, financial website WalletHub found.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, smoking costs the U.S. more than $300 billion annually, including both medical care and lost productivity.

In Georgia, the cost per smoker comes to $37,296 each year and $1,790,190 over a lifetime.

WalletHub looked into the per-person cost of smoking in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Analysts calculated the potential monetary losses — including both the lifetime and annual cost of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses, and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

For their calculations, WalletHub assumed each adult who smokes a pack of cigarettes per day started at age 21. They also assumed a lifespan of 48 more years, taking into account that 69 is the average age at which smokers die.

To see how WalletHub calculated out-of-pocket, health care and other costs, read the full methodology here.

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Georgia’s costs annually and over a lifetime ranked it No. 8 overall.

Tobacco use also cost, per smoker:

Out-of-pocket cost: $92,856 (No. 2)

Financial-opportunity cost: $1,035,226 (No. 2)

Health care cost: $114,114 (No. 4)

Income loss: $535,507 (No. 22)

Other costs: $12,486 (No. 33)

Smokers in Mississippi had the lowest costs, followed by Missouri, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee, in that order. In fact, of the 10 states with the lowest expenses, WalletHub found, nine were in the South.

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