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From WMOT News

Smoking is (relatively) inexpensive in Tennessee, until you count lives lost


  MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A new report suggests smoking is not only hard on your health but also puts a dent in your bank account.


WMOT’S reporting partner Wallethub.com has released its annual look at the costs of smoking by state. The study compares price per pack, taxes, health costs, lost wages and more.


Tennessee is actually one of the cheapest places to be a smoker, but Wallethub analyst Jill Gonzalez says the costs still pile up fast.


“It still costs the average smoker over $20,000 over the course of a year, especially when we’re factoring financial opportunity through investing instead of smoking. And over a lifetime that adds up to almost $1.2 million.”


Perhaps not surprisingly, smoking remains cheapest in Tennessee’s southern, tobacco growing neighbors. Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Mississippi all have lower tobacco costs. Costs in Alabama and South Carolina rank just above Tennessee.


Northeastern States have the highest smoking costs. Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York smokers pay the most. Gonzalez says the cost of smoking in New York is twice what it is in Tennessee.


“The out of pocket costs alone are almost triple, just in terms of the price per pack and the taxes on a pack. So over a lifetime that’s more than $2.2 million dollars; almost a million more dollars than it would be in Tennessee.”


No matter where you live, the ultimate price for smoking remains high. The Centers for Disease Control says smoking related illnesses take well over 11,000 Tennessee lives each year.


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