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Smoking Costs a New Yorker $194,341 Before They Die, Study Says

By Nicole Levy | January 17, 2017 4:26pm | Updated on January 18, 2017 2:48pm
 Smoking isn't just taking a toll on New Yorkers' health — it's taking a big chunk out of their wallets, too.
Smoking isn't just taking a toll on New Yorkers' health — it's taking a big chunk out of their wallets, too.
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Smokers in New York are spending more money on a lifetime's worth of cigarettes than those anywhere else in the U.S., according to an updated study by the personal finance website WalletHub.

WalletHub found that a New Yorker smoking a pack of 20 cigarettes a day from the age of 18, when you can legally purchase tobacco in most state counties (although New York City you have to be 21 to purchase cigarettes), to 69, the average age at which a smoker dies, will drop a total of $194,341 on tobacco. That's $3,811 a year. 

Researchers found the average price of cigarettes in New York is roughly $10.44 a pack. Cigarettes cost less than half that amount in Kentucky, where you can find the cheapest smokes in the country, according to WalletHub's report. 

Tax rates on a pack of cigarettes are one of the reasons smoking has such a higher cost. New York collects $4.35 per pack, the steepest tax in all 50 states. (Note: New York City slaps smokers with an additional tax of $1.50 per pack.) Those taxes cover healthcare programs and research and are intended to discourage residents from smoking, a habit that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says kills more than 480,000 Americans every year.

New York maintains its lead among the states in cigarette prices since at least last year. WalletHub's standings for second and third place, however, have changed. 

In 2016, the website found that pack-a-day smokers in Alaska and Hawaii were paying the most after those in New York for their lifelong habit.

This year, Massachusetts and Connecticut, where heavy smokers are estimated to spend $172,189 and $170,513 respectively over the course of lifetime, come in second and third in the rankings.

Data for the WalletHub report comes from such varied sources as the CDC and Federal Reserve Economic Data.