31st May- World No Tobacco Day

31st May- World No Tobacco Day

Smoking destroys your health and happiness and also burns a big hole in your pocket. The price of a single cigarette can cost around Rs 15-17, with a packet of 10 cigarettes costing around Rs 150-180. A person smoking five cigarettes a day spends Rs 75 daily, or Rs 2,250 a month. A cool Rs 27,000 a year is just by smoking five cigarettes a day.

A heavy smoker will have to pay higher premiums on life and health plans as insurers charge smokers a higher premium compared to non-smokers. Just look around and see the warning signs: Cigarette smoking is injurious to your health.

The mildest form of smoking could result in bronchial problems, while heavy smoking could lead to severe asthmatic attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart diseases and even lung cancer. Hospitalisation and high medical bills can empty your pockets. Make a resolution never to smoke again and say no to the silent killer on No-Tobacco Day.

1. Let’s compare a financially healthy non-smoker versus a financially unhealthy smoker

The biggest problem a smoker faces is the price of cigarettes. If a single cigarette cost Rs 15 and you smoke a packet of 10 cigarettes a day, you would incur Rs 150 a day, Rs 4,500 a month, or Rs 54,000 a year. Just think, a non-smoker saves all this money.

Cigarette prices are not constant and generally rise by an average 15-20 percent each year. If you smoke just 5 cigarettes a day, and each cigarette costs Rs 15, you would have spent Rs 2,250 a month, or Rs 27,000 a year. Assuming a conservative estimate of a 10 percent rise in cigarette prices, one would spent more than Rs 44 lakh over 30 years.

A non-smoker saves all this money, simply because he doesn’t smoke. If the money that a heavy smoker spends on cigarettes was invested each month in a financial instrument that offered 9 percent returns a year, the money would grow to more than a crore in 30 years. A non-smoker becomes a crorepati in this time, just because he doesn’t smoke.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you smoke, you could suffer from a number of diseases, the mildest being bronchial problems. Even if a smoker avails life and health insurance plans, he has to pay a high premium compared to a non-smoker.

The bottom line: A heavy smoker loses more than a crore if he smokes for 30 years. So, why not quit smoking this No Tobacco Day?

2. The different ways smoking can impact a person’s financial health

On an average a smoker spends Rs 500 more on health treatment each month compared to a non-smoker. Costs of hospitalisation and medical treatment are rising and a smoker spends a lot of time in hospitals.

Medical inflation is close to 20 percent. Even if you assume a 15 percent rise in medical costs each year, a smoker will spend around Rs 26 lakh over a 30-year period.

Smoking and health insurance are arch-enemies. If you smoke, insurers will charge a higher premium. Can you lie and escape?

If the insurer finds that you are suffering from a smoking-related disease and you have not disclosed that you are a smoker in the insurance proposal form, the claim will not be settled.

What about life insurance? A smoker is charged 10-15 percent higher premiums on a term life insurance plan, compared to a non-smoker. If you are a smoker, it would seem a good idea not to mention this in the insurance proposal form, just to escape the higher premium.

Sadly, if a smoker meets an untimely end and the insurer finds out about the smoking habit, the claim will not be settled. His family will be in deep distress as there is no money to meet daily expenses.

3. Recommendations towards a healthier financial future

Statistics reveal that tobacco use causes 1 death every 6 seconds. Any better reason to give up smoking this No Tobacco Day?

If you cannot quit at least try to reduce smoking by joining a smoking cessation program. The effects on financial health are clear.

• Some insurers offer smoking cessation programmes that could lower the cost of health insurance premiums. If you stay without smoking for at least 2 years, you could see health insurance premiums fall.

• Make sure you avail health and term life insurance even if you are a smoker. Mention that you are a smoker in the insurance proposal form. Even if you are charged a higher premium, at least the claims will be settled, keeping your family far from financial worries.

• Cigarette smoking causes cancer, heart diseases and even a stroke which can empty your pocket. Stay far from cigarettes.

• Smoking can cost you a job. A smoker loses a lot of money in absenteeism and sick leaves. Quit smoking before it is too late.

• Women smokers are steadily increasing in India, affecting their reproductive health and earning capacity. If a woman quits smoking, chances of conceiving a baby improve. Chances of coronary heart disease and lung cancer are low, saving lakhs of rupees. Be wise, get rich.

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