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The Lifetime Cost of Smoking

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2022


New research shows that during the pandemic, more Americans used tobacco and nicotine to combat boredom and disrupt their regular routines. Although cigarette smoking is becoming less popular, e-cigarettes and cannabis products are quickly taking their place. Not only can smoking impact your health over time, but it can also have financial consequences. For this study, the team at Weiss & Paarz looked at the average price of cigarettes, vapes, and cannabis to determine the cost of each habit over time.

Key Findings

  • Four of the top five states where smoking cigarettes will cost you the most are in the Northeast. Per week, New Yorkers could spend $52.25 for cigarettes or $83.08 for vaping, Massachusetts residents could spend $45.40 on cigarettes or $72.19 on vaping, and residents in Connecticut and Rhode Island could spend $44.55 on cigarettes ($70.83 on vaping) and $44.35 on cigarettes ($70.52 on vaping) per week, respectively. 
  • Southern U.S. states will be spending the least on their tobacco and vaping products with states like Virginia, North Carolina (the home of Tobacco Road), Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee in the top 10 states where a pack of cigarettes or the vaping equivalent will cost you the least. All of them are under $26.00 for cigarettes and $41.00 for vaping per week.
  • The five states where an ounce of marijuana will cost you the most are Washington, D.C. ($61.88), South Dakota ($42.12), North Dakota ($40.88), Wyoming ($40.04), and Iowa ($38.34). The five states where it will cost you the least are Mississippi ($21.51), Oregon ($23.35), Washington ($24.71), Colorado ($25.03), and California ($26.14). 

Smoking Costs: State-by-State

It’s no secret that buying vape refills and cigarettes adds up to a lot of money over time, but in some U.S. states, it could cost you a small fortune. New York came in first as our most expensive state to be a smoker. The Empire State is well-known across the country for its higher-than-average cigarette prices and taxes. On average, a pack of smokes costs around $10 or more. New York also imposes a 20% supplemental sales tax on vapor products, making it the most expensive state to vape in as well.

Although marijuana is legal in the District of Columbia, its price tag is discouraging. Residents of Washington, D.C. have to pay more than any other state in the country for recreational cannabis. The average price of an ounce of marijuana is around $495 in the district and even more for high-quality marijuana. Similar to New York’s high taxes on tobacco and vape products, the U.S. capital city taxes cannabis and cannabis products at 17% at the point of sale, higher than most states that allow for recreational use.

Missouri ranked as our cheapest place to purchase cigarettes in the U.S., with an average cost of only $4.38 per pack. The Show-Me State also has the lowest excise cigarette tax in the country, at only $0.17. Lifetime cigarette costs were generally lower in the south, as most southern states have considerably lower taxes on tobacco and vape products. Additionally, Virginia was the only state below the Mason-Dixon line to make it into our top 10 list for lifetime marijuana costs. 

What Smoking Could Cost You In a Lifetime

A graphic showing the costs of smoking over a lifetime compared to other purchases.

To better demonstrate the cost of using different smoke and vape products over time, we gathered cost data for other products and found out how many of each you could buy during different timeframes. For example, lifelong marijuana use in the District of Columbia could cost you over $189,000, or more than a brand-new Aston Martin. New Yorkers who quit vaping could save over a quarter of a million dollars over a lifetime. 

Cigarette smokers who are interested in more short-term savings will be happy to find out they could potentially buy 440 gallons of gas at the same price as a year’s supply of smokes. A decade of dumping your vape pen can help you save enough money to put a down payment on six new cars. Regardless of what prize you have your eyes on, quitting smoking can help you get there quicker. 

Closing Thoughts

While smoking and vaping can cause adverse side effects on your health, they could also hit your wallet just as hard. Tobacco and marijuana use could lead to you spending more in taxes needlessly over the years. Depending on where you live, you could save hundreds of thousands of dollars by giving up cigarettes and recreational marijuana use. What are some things you would buy with the money you save?

Giving up smoking can save you thousands of dollars in the long run and help you avoid a host of medical issues. Similarly, Weiss & Paarz are dedicated to helping clients get representation for their complex medical malpractice claims and recovering a wide variety of damages.


To determine the lifetime cost of smoking, we found state-level data on the average costs of a pack of cigarettes and an ounce of marijuana from the websites Sales Tax Handbook and Price of Weed. To reach the vaping cost figure, we multiplied local cigarette costs by the average cost ratio of cigarettes to vape cartridge products, according to Tobacco Journal. The lifetime cost data above is based on the national averages for the three types of smoking outlined.

Weekly costs for each type of smoking were determined by calculating the following expenses:

  • Five packs of cigarettes per week
  • Vape cartridge refills equivalent to five packs of cigarettes per week
  • 1/8th of an ounce of marijuana per week 

We added an additional yearly fee of $34.19 for vaping to account for misplaced or broken vape pens, as that is the average cost of a chargeable cartridge device.

The frequencies for each type of smoking were based on information from the following.

From there, we carried the weekly data out to determine an annual cost and then followed the same pattern for each of the years listed. The lifetime cost assumes someone smoking our weekly estimates every week from the day they turn 18 until they reach the average U.S. life expectancy of 77 years old, according to World Bank (59 years in total).

Disclaimer: The historical information and specific statistics displayed above are solely designed to provide general knowledge to the public and are being used as a part of attorney marketing. Cited statistics and statements were taken from the research of various independent websites (referenced below). Weiss & Paarz did not take any steps to replicate the findings of any sources used in this infographic, nor were the numbers or results displayed above independently verified by Weiss & Paarz.



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