The Long-term and Short Term Financial Benefits of Quitting Smoking

We're not going to bother talking about the health benefits from quitting smoking, that should be a given.  What we are going to show you is how quickly a pack a day habit ends up costing you.  What is really surprising is not the long term financial costs, but how bad the short term costs are including an extra winter getaway that you are smoking away every year.


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Credit Card Nerd Math

At $14 a pack, a pack a day habit will cost you $5,110 a year. (365 days x $14 = $5,110)
    On the average month you will spend $425.83 on cigarettes with a pack a day habit. ($5,110 ÷ 12 = $425.83)
    If you start smoking at the age of 18 and don't quit until the day you die at the age of 84, you would have spent $337,260 in 2016 dollars on cigarettes, assuming the cost of cigarettes increases only at the rate of normal inflation. The math works like this: $5,110 x (84 years - 18 years) = $337,260.  If you got a return on your investments that was 2% or 4% above the inflation rate, then you could leave behind an extra $695,042 or $1,600,911 to your grandchildren respectively.
    Below we have a chart with the time period, the amount of money saved from quitting smoking and what you could buy with your money saved.  The assumptions we made was that the money saved was in an investment that earned at the same rate of inflation, that the brand you buy costs $14 a pack, that a pack is bought once a day, the price of a pack of smokes increased at the regular rate of inflation and we decided that you won't smoke on the leap day.



Money Saved by Not Smoking a Pack a Day

Time Period

Money Saved

What it Would Buy

1 month

$425.83

Car payment

3 months

$1,277.50

2 Weeks of Work

6 months

$2,555.00

4 Star Winter Vacation for two

9 months

$3,832.50

5 Star Winter Vacation for two

1 year

$5,110.00

Almost Maxed TFSA

2 years

$10,220.00

5% Down payment on a $204,400 house

5 years

$25,550.00

New Truck

10 years

$51,100.00

10%+ Down payment on the Average Canadian House

20 years

$102,200.00

New Corvette

30 years

$153,300.00

More than the average debt amount for a Canadian Household

40 years

$204,400.00

A decent house in Winnipeg

From age 18 to age 84

$337,260.00

A new house



Potential TFSA Balance from Not Smoking a Pack a Day

Below we have a chart, but instead of getting a return equal to the rate of inflation we will show the results with a 2% and a 4% return above the rate of inflation.  The funds are deposited into a TFSA at the end of each month.


Pack a day investment portfolio

Time Period

2% Real Return

4% Real Return

1 month

$425.83

$425.83

3 months

$1,279.62

$1,281.75

6 months

$2,565.63

$2,576.27

9 months

$3,858.02

$3,883.57

1 year

$5,156.80

$5,203.64

2 years

$10,465

$10,567

5 years

$26,887

$28,130

10 years

$56,522

$62,409

20 years

$125,365

$154,859

30 years

$209,285

$291,700

40 years

$311,582

$494,263

From age 18 to age 84

$695,042

$1,600,911



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A Wake Up Call

In reality no one plans, or at least they shouldn't, to smoke for years, decades or for their entire lives, but some just can't seem to get the willpower to quit or are unable to beat their addiction.
    The numbers do sound absurd, but it is true that you will be basically buying an extra house if you are going to be a lifelong smoker.  That is a financial handicap that very few people would be able to get ahead with.