Bloomberg article The cost of smoking is falling, but its costs are not decreasing, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard University.
In their study, published Thursday in the journal Tobacco Control, the researchers found that the average American smoker spent $2,000 per year on tobacco products, and that nearly 80 percent of the money went toward nicotine replacement therapy.
The study also showed that the cost of tobacco use dropped by an average of 40 percent during the past 15 years, when prices of tobacco products declined from a peak of $2.00 a pack in 1996 to about $0.75 a pack today.
The study was based on a survey of more than 2,000 Americans conducted between 2009 and 2014.
The authors also found that while smoking costs continue to rise, the percentage of smokers who said they have quit or reduced the amount they smoke by 80 percent or more is decreasing.
“The decline in smoking has been substantial, but it’s not yet as dramatic as we thought,” said study co-author Elizabeth Stotler, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“The smoking rate has been falling steadily over the past 10 years.”
Stotler noted that some of the savings could be due to the fact that people are choosing to quit.
“We saw a drop in cigarette consumption by people who are taking their medicine, but people are still getting high-dose medications,” she said.
Smokers are also spending more money on health care, with the average spending per person on that topic now $9,000, compared to $3,500 in 2009.
However, there is still more than $1,000 of healthcare spending that smokers would like to pay off over the next decade, Stotle said.
The researchers plan to continue to study how much smokers pay out of pocket on medical expenses.
“We hope to find out if there are other ways to reduce costs, but for now, we’re still very happy with what we have,” Stotl said.