Do not think in purely monetary terms when trying to figure the tremendous cost of a smoking habit. The initial purchase price of enough cigarettes to create a full fledged habit is small compared to the price paid in ill health, loss of life, and harmful effects on others.
Tremendous is a good word choice, because smoking has severe consequences. However, let’s start with the fact that, while the economy and job security have both gone down, the price of cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco have gone up. It is hard for those who do not smoke to see why anyone would pay good money for a bad habit. Unfortunately, common sense does not help much with this compulsive habit.
Called coffin nails for a good reason, cigarettes shorten the life expectancy of their users to the extent that insurance premiums are higher for those who smoke. The habitual use of burning tobacco puts the user into the high risk category for stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease and emphysema. Cancer is also linked directly to this harmful practice.
Besides cigarettes, there are other tobacco products that carry just as much risk. Young athletes who start chewing tobacco for fun become addicted, and find that they can’t stop when they are old enough to understand the dangers. One day they may face losing the lower part of their face to mouth cancer. The pleasure of savoring cigar smoke by holding it in the mouth can result in gum disease, can damage the tongue, destroy the sense of taste and smell, and cause mouth cancer.
Cancer is horrible, but long before smokers succumb to their final disease, their health has suffered. They are short of breath, cannot climb the stairs or walk for exercise comfortably, are nervous and irritable without their ‘fix’, and have bad teeth. What fun.
Others who may not smoke themselves can be exposed to harmful second hand smoke. The dangers of this have led to recent legislation that makes most restaurants and public places smoke free areas. Children especially suffer the ill effects of their parents smoking in the home or the family car. Another hazard for children is the bad example that their parents are setting for them.
There is a whole other side to the cost for people who choose to smoke. They are risking the years that they may spend with family and friends to engage in a habit that can shorten their lives considerably. Remember how the whole United States population mourned when Michael Landon lost his battle with cancer and left his wife and young children behind. Long time friends remembered his earlier smoking habits after his death, and the depth of his inhalations of the deadly smoke.
It is not only health that is sacrificed. Peace of mind is lost as well. Kicking the nicotine habit is so hard and unpleasant that many people just cannot succeed. After trying the patch, and the gum, and gaining forty pounds, they begin to bum smokes off their friends and soon feel so guilty about that that they once again start buying their own. For some, even a sincere wish to stop, the pleas of their families, the advice of their doctors, the rising premiums on their life insurance, and even prayer or hypnosis cannot help them quit.
Money, quality of life, health, and longevity – all of these are some of the tremendous cost of a smoking habit.