Stop Smoking – Healthy and Wealthy

Stop Smoking – Healthy and Wealthy

One of the major costs for a lot of people is smoking. For me personally this was my big fat money monster. The money monster being the thing that holds you back, not only money wise but in a big part of your everyday life as well. It’s incredible how much time is spent on smoking that filthy cigarette. It’s amazing how much stress it causes (wasn’t it supposed to relax me?) and how much you miss in life by smoking that stupid stick. I needed to stop smoking to improve my health and my wealth.

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I can’t tell how many times I’ve let my son down when he wanted to do something or show me something… “Just a minute son, I am going to smoke first” I said at least a dozen times a day. Or how about leaving the restaurant every course to go puffing, leaving your non smoking friends and family just sitting there. I can come up with a lot more examples but think about it… It’s ridiculous.

Before we dive into this subject and start discussing the benefits for your health and your wealth, let’s have a look at my old smoking habits. From my old habits we will get some numbers which we will use later to calculate the cost of smoking and, to rock the boat a bit, the opportunity cost of smoking.

I smoked my first cigarette when I was 14 years old, being 31 now, that means I choked and poisoned myself and others for 17 years. The funny thing is… I was the biggest anti-smoker when I was 13. One day I remember going to this store on my skates one evening because I wanted to know what all those smokers liked about their cigarette. So I bought myself a small package, 10 cigarettes which were sold to me for 60 BEF (before the euro era we paid with Belgian francs in belgium). I sat down somewhere, made sure nobody saw me and lighted up.

Until this day I remember how horrible it tasted, how hard I was coughing… I was so dizzy I almost passed out. Why do these people smoke? Once I found out it hit me hard… These people smoke because smoking is an addiction… and I just got suckered in.

It didn’t take me long to become a heavy smoker. By the time I was seventeen I smoked between 40 and 60 cigarettes a day. That never changed until the day I quit. Some years I smoked regular cigarettes and other years, to save some money, I rolled my own cigarettes.

Health benefits

I will not bug you with to many details, there are a lot of research papers to be found online, written by doctors and scientist who have some more credibility in this field.

First of all: smoking does not enhance your life, it doesn’t make you more alert or less stressful. It’s just your brain trying to trick you into adding more nicotine. Just like a heroin addict, smokers need their shot.

The benefits:

  • reduced risk of getting a heart disease
  • reduced risk of developing cancer

You might even avoid:

  • erection problems
  • COPD
  • Fertility problems
  • bad nerves behind your eyes
  • gum disease
  • tooth loss
  • osteoporosis
  • Cold fingers and feet
  • pregnancy related problems

Their are a lot more benefits to be found. You will be healthier as a non smoker.

The cost of smoking 17 years

Our number: 60 BEF = 1,5€ = 1,71$ for 10 cigarettes. So a regular pack (20 ciggies) was 3€ or 3,42$ 17 years ago. Current price for 20 cigarettes is 5,3€ or 6,06$ (Thought we had low inflation numbers).

76,6% price increase in 17 years. That means an average increase in price of 3,4% per year.

Let’s say I averaged 2 packs daily. Now I will calculate the cost of smoking for 17 years including inflation.

The Big Number: 46.835,18€ or 53.536,26$ !!!

What if you are a pack a day smoker?  23.417,59€ or 26.768$ !!!

This number is staggering… I just can’t help wonder what my retirement account would have looked like if that same amount was invested. Let’s level up and calculate how big your retirement account would have been if you would have averaged a conservative 9% return per year. Using the same calculations:

2 packs a day for 17 years: 105.485,45€ or 120.718,40$ !!!

1 pack a day for 17 years: 52.751,38€ or 60.334,27$ !!!

Smokers millionaire

Do the numbers above shock you? Don’t panic just yet. You and I wasted a ton of money on these things and the opportunity cost is huge. The good news is that we still have a chance to change ourselves.

Let’s make it a little easier on our financials, let’s start paying ourselves instead of the big tobacco companies.

If you are like me… 2 packs a day… You quit and you start putting 322,41€ (368,94$) a month into an investment account. Depending on your age and investment returns we can see how this can work out for us. We’ll use a 65 year retirement age in the table. For illustration and simplicity, the end results in €.

Current age 5% return 10% RETURN 15% RETURN
20 637.373,15€ 2.953.350,85€ 15.147.207,97€
30 360.613,97€ 1.113.602,81€ 3.723.196,96€
40 190.707,85€ 404.300.31€ 899.356,16€
50 86.400,22€ 130.833,48€ 201.345,90€

Same thing here but for the pack a day smoker who saves 161,21€ (184,47$)

20 318.696,46€ 1.476.721,23€ 7.573.838,89€
30 180.312,58€ 556.818,68€ 1.861.656,22€
40 95.356,88€ 202.156,42€ 449.692,03€
50 43.201,45€ 65.418,77€ 100.676,05€

Notice how compound interest works over time… If you are 20 years old now and a heavy smoker you’d easily become a smokers millionaire.

What’s Next?

I have used nicotine patches and nicotine chewing gum in the past but what really helped me quit is reading Allen Carr’s Easy Way book. Keep an open mind mind while reading and digest it slowly. It is all about your mindset when you stop.

If there is anyone who used nicotine patches, nicotine gum, acupuncture, laser therapy, other medicines or hypnosis, please write a comment and tell us about your experience.