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Smoking Cessation Saves Smokers Money....

The Personal Economics of Smoking Cessation. Published in the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences (Volume 94, pages 41-49, November 2002) by Richard W. Ault and Robert B. Ekelund (TRF).

The health risks of cigarette smoking, the health benefits of quitting and the implications of these behaviors for social policy have been the subject of thousands of research articles. Thus, smokers are fairly well educated about the health effects of smoking. But smokers generally don't know how much money smoking will cost them, or how much they can save if they quit. The research presented here focuses on how smokers can benefit financially from quitting. Professors Ault and Ekelund calculate the costs and benefits of smoking cessation at two points in time, after three months and over the quitter's remaining life. They calculate the benefits of using six classic ways to quit smoking: self help (cold turkey), intensive counseling, nicotine gum, nicotine patches, Zyban and smokeless tobacco.

This table shows the net benefit at three months to individuals who quit smoking using one of these techniques.


Net Benefit or Cost (-) in US Dollars




-330 to -1,430

Nicotine Gum

-230 to 20

Nicotine Patches

-5 to 105



Smokeless tobacco


This is great news, revealing that, even in the short run, most smoking cessation techniques save money by eliminating the need to buy ever more costly cigarettes on a daily basis.

But the real news is the substantial savings over the long term. The following table shows the lifetime financial benefit to successful quitters of various ages, based on the cessation technique and average life expectancy.

Life-Time Savings of Smoking Cessation (US Dollars)

Your Age Now Self-help Couseling Nicotine Gum Nicotine Patches Zyban Smokeless Tobacco
40 90,582 90,582 57,615 25,137 43,696 77,762
50 66,545 66,545 42,326 18,466 32,107 57,127
60 40,951 40,951 26,047 11,364 19,755 35,150
40 91,889 91,889 55,925 20,494 40,740 77,903
50 71,608 71,608 43,582 15,972 31,749 60,709
60 49,877 49,877 30,356 11,125 22,114 42,281

The authors conclude that "Beyond any health benefits, peace of mind, or greater quality of life, it pays to quit smoking ... A sane society must address the plight of lower socio-economic groups and acknowledge the possible net gain in terms of longer life and health that stems from the dramatic reduction in harm possible from the use of nicotine substitutes... It appears socially irresponsible for government healthy officials not to offer healthier alternatives to the poor and the addicted. 'Nirvana thinking,' when it comes to lung cancer prevention and the total elimination of addictions, must be replaced by 'possibility thinking' - the use of techniques which eliminate smoking but not nicotine use."

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