The high cost of smoking


According to the 2015 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Assessment, 34 percent of the people in Scioto County smoke.

A new report from the website indicates the cost to an average Ohio Smoker will be $1,466,537 over a lifetime.

Wendi Waugh, Director of Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Cancer Services and Community Health and Wellness said smoking not only places a person’s health in jeopardy, but can come at a large financial cost.

“It’s not only necessarily your health that suffers, but our economy,” Waugh said. “We have people buying cigarettes instead of, providing food for their family. We have people making choices to buy cigarettes instead of buying healthier foods for their family or becoming a member a gym or choosing to be active.”

She said there are a lot of correlations that could be made to people that smoke and economics.

The report breaks down the cost of smoking in each state.

In Ohio the out-of-pocket cost per Smoker is $105,603. Financial opportunity cost per Smoker $998,590, health-care cost per Smoker $154,322, income loss per smoker $199,304 and other costs per smoker is $8,719.

With all of these factors, the total cost over a lifetime per smoker is $1,466,537.

Waugh acknowledged there is a lot of work that needs to be done to decrease the number of people that smoke.

“There is still a long way to go, when it comes to this issue in Scioto County,” Waugh said. “We still have one of the highest smoking rates, if not the highest in the nation, here in Appalachia.”

To help address this issue in Scioto County, SOMC has partnered with the American Lung Association to offer a Freedom from Smoking Program. The program is designed to help anyone wishing to kick the tobacco habit.

The six week class is free to participants and all materials and medication support are also free. The medication support is nicotine patches or gum.

The first smoking cessation classes started Jan. 11. The next classes will be April 4, June 6 and September 8.

“We launched our 2016 smoking cessation class schedule, we had our first meeting of the new year last week and the class is not filled up. There should be a waiting line to get into that class, there should be so many people interested in this that we would have to open other classes,” Waugh said.

She said to change this trend will take time and effort from the community.

To register for a smoking cessation class or for more information contact SOMC Community Health and Wellness at 740-356-2552.

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By Wayne Allen

[email protected]

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT

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