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Smoking Costs S.C. in Many Ways

The costs of smoking are legion. No dollar value can be placed on the harm to smokers' quality of life, vitality, and longevity, nor on the significant and measurable effects of second and third-hand cigarette smoke. No dollar value can be placed on the emotional suffering caused by these injuries.

Dollar value can, however, be calculated for the costs of treating smoking related illness, lost productivity due to smoking, and the cost to society of premature death. The American Lung Association reports that while the average retail price of a pack of cigarettes in S.C. is $4.19, the real price of a pack of cigarettes to our state's economy is far more expensive:  $13.27 per pack.(See the American Lung Association press release and state-specific research here.)

Smoking is expensive to our society because of losses due to premature death, lost worker productivity, and because smoking-related illness is diverse and expensive to treat. For example, consider that over 70% of all male cancer deaths are now linked to smoking cigarettes (research). Find more information on the health impact of smoking here.

Direct Health Care Expenditures / year    $1,611,993,441
Workplace Productivity Losses / year
Premature Deaths / year    $2,321,908,170
Total Annual Cost to S.C. Economy    $4,946,269,022

The fastest and surest ways to decrease these costs is to help current smokers quit and help teens not to start smoking (90% of smokers start as teenagers).


South Carolina employers are increasingly committed to providing smoking cessation assistance to employees in order to create a healthier workforce and to reduce health insurance costs. (more information)

This aligns with one of three success strategies are proven to lessen the toll of tobacco use in South Carolina:

The S.C. Tobacco-Free Collaborative is committed to pursuing these strategies. Learn how you can add to our efforts through the information on these topics on our website.

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