Hawaii smokers deal with one of nation’s highest financial costs


Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Hawaii smokers have one of the highest financial costs in the country.

This according to the personal finance website WalletHub, which released Tuesday its report on The True Cost of Smoking by State.

Every year, more than 66 million tobacco users collectively spend a total of $326 billion, including nearly $170 billion in direct health-care costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke.

And some will have to pay more depending on the state in which they live.

For the report’s calculations, it was assumed that an adult who smokes one pack of cigarettes per day began at age 18, when a person can legally purchase tobacco products in the U.S. (Hawaii raised the age to 21 at the beginning of 2016.) The report also assumes a lifespan thereafter of 51 years, taking into account that 69 is the average age at which a smoker dies.

WalletHub’s analysts 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.

Hawaii’s overall rank is 48th out of 51, just above Alaska, Massachusetts and New York.

The breakdown for the island state in specific categories, with 25 as the average:

  • Out-of-Pocket Cost per Smoker – $164,538 (Rank: 49th)
  • Financial Opportunity Cost per Smoker – $1,555,886 (Rank: 49th)
  • Health-Care Cost per Smoker – $175,171 (Rank: 35th)
  • Income Loss per Smoker – $278,260 (Rank: 46th)
  • Other Costs per Smoker – $12,927 (Rank: 41st)
  • Total Cost Over a Lifetime per Smoker: $2,186,781

The data used to create these rankings were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Insurance Information Institute, NYsmokefree.com, the Federal Reserve database in St. Louis, Kaiser Family Foundation and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

Tobacco use accounts for nearly half a million premature deaths in the U.S. each year and is the leading cause of lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association.

Even those around tobacco smokers aren’t safe from its harmful effects. Since 1964, smoking-related illnesses have claimed 20 million lives in the U.S., 2.5 million of which belonged to nonsmokers who developed diseases merely from secondhand-smoke exposure.

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