Smoking is a serious addiction, but if you are a smoker, you're definitely aware of it. It accounts for roughly 480,000 deaths annually in the US alone and millions more around the globe. As you can check in our smoking recovery calculator, it tends to significantly shorten your life, too. One thing we tend to forget, however, is how regular smoking can affect our budget.
About the calculator
We collect the number of cigarettes you smoke and assume you invest the money you don't spend on them (the default return on investment (ROI) is set to 4%, feel free to change it). As is often the case, people greatly underestimate the power of compound interest.
Let's take a typical scenario: a pack of Marlboros costs $6.50, John smokes 20 cigarettes per day. He's 25 years old and wonders: what could I buy at 55 if I quit now and saved that cash? The plain, uninvested money alone gives a pretty nice sum: over $71,000. But when invested at 4% per annum, it provides an additional $66k for a total amount of $137,000! That's 137,000 reasons to quit smoking now!
Where exactly did the 4% ROI come from? Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the globe, shared his predictions on the average return from stocks in a Bloomberg article. He estimates the return at a level of 7%. This number is also consistent with historical data. After taking inflation of approximately 3% into account, we get a 4% ROI that we use in this Quit Smoking and Save Calculator.
An additional problem to keep in mind is that the prices of cigarettes increase every year due to new taxes imposed by governments trying to tackle the problem. The trend is simple - if you keep smoking the same amount of cigarettes for years to come, it will only cost you more.
Smoking cost calculator
Suppose you're a heavy smoker and need a fresh pack of 5$ cigarettes every day. If you quit smoking today and managed to stay clean for another 30 years, your budget would grow by only 1,825 bucks this year and by over $100,000 by 2048 (assuming a 4% annual return rate). Even if you're more of an occasional smoker and need, on average, only two puffs per day, in 10 years, you'd be richer by over $2,000. Sounds tempting? Play a bit with the smoking cost calculator and see how would your savings shape in various scenarios.
How many cigarettes in a pack?
To get the most accurate results, check how many cigarettes fit in your pack. Governments often regulate this number and as such here are the most common sizes:
- In the European Union, there are no union-wide regulations and producers tend to adjust sizes based on taxes in place to offer the pack at the same price.
- In the USA, the minimum amount is 20, but 25s are also in everyday use.
- In Canada, 25-packs are most common.
- In Australia, 25-pack is most common; however, even the 30, 40 and 50-packs are sold around the country.
- In the UK, 20s, and 10s are most common, but vending machines often sell 16 and 18-packs (keep in mind the box size is the same as in case of 20-pack).
How does this cigarette cost calculator really work?
While developing this cigarette cost calculator, we used standard formulas previously known from the investment calculator. Those formulas shape the amount of interest that appear in light blue on the chart above, while the dark blue part is the actual amount that you simply wouldn't have spent. As you can see, the amount of interest grows at a much faster rate as the years' progress, significantly increasing your savings.
In the process, we came up with another tool we thought you'd find useful if you like that kind of math - pack years calculator. Pack year as a unit is used in a clinical context and is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes a day for one year. Clinicians use pack years to measure a person's exposure to tobacco and assess the risk of developing smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer.