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January 20, 2016

Smokers in New Jersey looking for a good reason to quit can find almost 2 million of them in a new report from WalletHub, the personal finances website. According to “The True Cost of Smoking by State,” the nicotine habit will wind up costing a smoker in the Garden State $1,953,106 over a lifetime of puffs and coughs. The cost of cigarettes themselves is only a fraction of the total — $138,272. That estimate is based on a smoker who takes his or her first drag at 18 and continues smoking until 69, the average age at which a smoker dies.

The financial-opportunity cost per smoker -- a shocking $1,307,514 -- reflects the amount that would have been realized had the same amount of money been invested in the stock market rather than smokes. Healthcare costs per smoker ($200,823) and income loss ($294,013) also contribute to the grand total, as do “other” costs ($12,484).

How does New Jersey compare with other states: Not particularly well. It’s ranked 41st in three categories (1 = lowest): out of pocket costs, financial-opportunity costs, and healthcare costs, and finishes dead last for income loss. Louisiana had the lowest total cost per smoker ($1,232,159) and New York had the highest ($2,452,735).

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