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The Amazing, True Cost of Smoking

Many of you who read my daily blog and twice-weekly newsletter don't smoke, but I suspect you probably know a loved one who does it anyway, despite all your concerns and warnings. As you may already know, a recent study showed tapering down one's cigarette to a few "cancer sticks" a day does almost nothing to change a smoker's risk of cancer. Complete abstinence is required. No scientific connection between the thickness of one's skull and the ability to drop a deadly habit has been discovered, however.

Not right now, anyway...

So if living a long, healthly life isn't enough, perhaps dollar signs will persuade your loved ones. Big dollar signs, that is. That pack of 20 cigarettes whose price you thought had mushroomed above $4 due to the various state tax laws and such over the past couple of years really costs $33 when one considers a number of factors, including the prospect of early death and smoking-related disabilities, according to economics researchers at Duke University,

And that doesn't include an extra $5.44 a pack for the effects of secondhand smoke on your spouse and another $1.44 on society as a whole. Now we're at $40 a pack, or more than $170,000 -- no joke -- over a smoker's lifetime.

Just think of all the things you can do, in addition to having great health, merely by not smoking...

Chicago Sun-Times October 18, 2004

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