Day Twenty Two

Days Without a Cigarette: 21.7041666
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: $56.02
Time Saved: 31 hours, 45 minutes

A friend of mine in Australia reached out the other day to congratulate me and to comment on this blog. Apparently he’s been following along and was pretty taken aback by the “Dollars Saved” portion of my opening stats. Specifically, like a lot of people, he expected it to be a hell of a lot higher than it is. So I thought I’d take a minute to address that.

First of all, it could be lower. I’m subtracting out the cost of nicotine patches, but I could have gotten them for free. There’s a state hotline you can call that’ll send them to you at no cost, I just didn’t call them in time so I went out and bought some instead. Those suckers are almost forty bucks for a box of fourteen, and I’ve had to buy two of them so far. That’s $39.49 * 2 = $78.98 being subtracted from the total. So without those, my total saved would be $135.00

But even that adjusted amount is gonna seem low to an Australian, and for obvious reasons. I live in a small town in Southern Georgia where a pack of cigarettes costs about $5.40. The last time I was in Sydney, they were running about $25 a pack. And as I understand it, the price has gone up since then.

Of course, even by America’s standard, $5.40/pack is a pretty low price. When I lived in NYC I paid closer to $15, so the amount I’ve saved is only this low because of my timing. I could’ve saved a heck of a lot more in three weeks if I’d elected to quit smoking ten years ago.

So, with all that in mind, I decided to figure up how high that number could be if I hadn’t decided to quit in such a smoker-friendly state. So just to be clear, here’s the calculation as it stands now:

22 * $5.40 = +$118.80
3 * 5.40 = +$16.20 (I smoked a little over a pack a day, so I add another pack per week to my running total)
-(2 * 39.49) = -$78.98
= $56.02

But now let’s take another look at it as though I decided to quit when I was a New Yorker:

25*13.75 (approximately) = $343.75
-(2 * 39.49) (assuming the patches would cost about the same) = -$78.98
= $264.77

Much more impressive, but still not as impressive as it could be. Hell, even that total would probably still seem low to my Australian friend. So now let’s run those numbers one more time from down under. We’ll use the average price for premium cigarettes in Sydney today. According to the first thing that came up on google, that ranges from $28.25 to $33.90, so we’ll go with the middle of that range rounded up to the nearest cent: $31.08. We’ll further imagine we’re in a nation that gives enough of a shit about its residents to ensure they don’t have to spend money on nicotine patches and leave out that subtraction. And I won’t bother showing my work this time, because now I’m just multiplying 31.08 by 25, but the total we get when we do that is…


Okay; gotta admit, I had not idea I’d get such a pretty number when I started.

But the point is “mileage may very.” I’m quitting in one of the least expensive places to smoke with one of the most expensive ways of quitting, and I’m still saving money pretty much right away. But for anybody out there thinking of following my lead, it’s probably worth keeping in mind that my “dollars saved” total can safely be considered the minimum.

Published by Noah Lugeons

Noah Lugeons co-hosts a bunch of podcasts: The Scathing Atheist, God Awful Movies, The Skepticrat, and Citation Needed

2 thoughts on “Day Twenty Two

  1. When I quit, smoking was a heck of a lot less expensive. Back in 1993, I could get an entire carton of cigarettes in Los Angeles for the price of a single pack in NYC, and I remember thinking back then that the cost of cigarettes was getting outrageous. Back then, Nicorette, the method my doctor recommended and prescribed for me (because it was only available by prescription, not over the counter), was about $100 for a box, and I’d go through a box every 4-5 days, and a carton would last me a week, so quitting was 4 times as expensive as smoking! I didn’t start saving money until I could kick the Nicorette habit, and although some people dumped it after six weeks, I was convinced I’d start smoking again if I didn’t have the gum, so I chewed it for two years!!! And no, insurance didn’t cover it.

    So from my perspective, you’re not only doing a great thing for your physical health, for Lucinda’s and for everyone around you; the fact that you’re seeing an immediate financial gain, even a small one, is fan-fucking-tastic!

    It makes me happy for those who want to stop that the price of quitting is actually less expensive than smoking now: back when I quit, the “market” was obviously in favor of keeping me addicted! I also noticed that in just the last couple years, my company’s health insurance charges smokers more than they charge non-smokers. They call it a non-smoker’s “discount” but my monthly premiums didn’t go down, and my smoking colleagues’ premiums went up, that was obviously spin.


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