» RELATED: What happens when you quit smoking?
They calculated potential monetary losses, including out-of-pocket costs (i.e. cost of cigarette pack per day); the financial opportunity cost based on the amount of return an individual would have earned if he or she had invested the money in the stock market; direct medical costs based on annual state-level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention divided by total number of smokers per state; income loss per smoker due to being absent, workplace bias or low productivity and other costs, which may include the homeowner’s insurance penalty cost for smokers and costs for victims of secondhand-smoke exposure.
According to WalletHub, the real lifetime cost of smoking per smoker in Georgia is $1,396,882, a yearly cost of $27,390. The Peach State is actually the least costly of all the 50 states (and D.C.), followed by Missouri and North Carolina.
» RELATED: Study: This common household chore is as damaging as smoking 20 cigarettes a day
In 2017, WalletHub reported Georgia’s lifetime cost per smoker to be $1,155,351.
Compare Georgia’s figures to the lifetime cost of smoking in Connecticut, which is $2,854,614 (or $55,973 per year).
» RELATED: Smokers have an increased risk of hearing loss, study says
Here’s more on how Georgia fared:
- Overall rank: 1
- Total cost per smoker: $27,390
- Out-of-pocket cost (and rank): $1,712 (2)
- Financial opportunity: $18,839 (2)
- Health care: $2,361 (4)
- Income loss: $4,238 (19)
- Other costs: $239 (28)
» RELATED: Study finds 68 percent of people who try cigarettes end up as daily smokers
- Overall rank: 1
- Total cost per smoker: $1,396,882
- Out-of-pocket cost (and rank): $87,304 (2)
- Financial opportunity: $960,789 (2)
- Health care: $120,432 (4)
- Income loss: $216,146 (19)
- Other costs: $12,211 (28)
According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. with more than 480,000 annually reported deaths (nearly one in five deaths) and 16 million Americans suffering with at least one disease caused by smoking. Smoking tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer as well.
Since 1964, according to the American Lung Association, smoking-related illnesses have killed more than 20 million lives in the U.S. And 2.5 million were nonsmokers who developed diseases from secondhand-smoke exposure.
All of this costs the country more than $300 billion in direct medical, economic and social costs.
Nationwide, according to 2015 data, 31.4 percent of U.S. high school youth reported using a tobacco product and 10.8 percent reported smoking cigarettes. Approximately 37.8 million Americans still use tobacco.
In Georgia, approximately 11,700 adults die from smoking-related illnesses every year, according to CDC data.
In 2015, 17.7 percent of adults in the state smoked cigarettes. In 2009, Georgia spent $3.2 billion on smoking-related healthcare costs.
» RELATED: Florida law would ban smoking on public beaches
While the state doesn’t have a comprehensive smoke-free law to protect folks from secondhand smoke everywhere, five Georgia cities, one county, 33 University of Georgia campuses, 163 hospitals and 116 public school districts have adopted either tobacco-free or smoke-free policies.
Many local restaurants, parks and other areas have also adopted policies to prevent harm from secondhand smoke.
The CDC offers tips for smokers who want to quit, including a hotline for referrals to local resources (1-800-784-8669), best practices guidelines and more at CDC.gov.
"People who smoke have a responsibility to try and quit, and we as a community have a responsibility to pressure states to support quitting by increasing the cost of tobacco products," East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine professor Joseph G. L. Lee said in a statement to WalletHub. Additionally, he said, "states that do not yet have clean air laws for bars, restaurants, and workplaces should adopt these laws. Companies should support their employees who smoke in quitting by making sure their smoking cessation benefits are strong and by adopting tobacco-free policies."
For more about the study and its methodology, visit WalletHub.com.