Smoking costs the average Colorado smoker $1.45 million over a lifetime, according to a study released Wednesday.

The study, released Wednesday by finance website WalletHub, calculated the potential monetary losses — including both the lifetime and annual cost of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, to find the true per-person cost of smoking in each state and Washington, D.C.

Colorado ranked 19th in both total lifetime and annual costs per smoker, averaging $28,932 each year, the study found. States were assigned a ranking of 1-51, with 1 indicating the lowest costs per smoker.

The study based its calculations on an adult who smokes one pack of cigarettes per day beginning at age 18, when — until this month, when the age was raised to 21 — a person can legally purchase tobacco products in the U.S.

“We also assumed a lifespan of 51 more years, taking into account that 69 is the average age at which a smoker dies,” the study read.

North Carolina, Georgia and Missouri made up the top three in both categories, with Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and New York coming in last. North Carolina spends just $24,088 per smoker each year, while New Yorkers average $48,197.

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Tobacco use accounts for nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. each year and is the leading cause of lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association.

“However, the economic and societal costs of smoking are just as huge,” the study read.
Every year, smoking costs the U.S. more than $300 billion, which includes both medical care and lost productivity, according to the study.

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Learn more about how the new law — which changes the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 — is impacting consumers and businesses in the Jan. 17 edition of the Business Journal.