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Drugs & Health Blog

What Is “The Real Cost” of Using Tobacco?

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

There’s no doubt that smoking is expensive—a pack of cigarettes costs just under $5 in Kentucky and more than $14 in New York City. Check out this calculator that shows how much smoking cigarettes can cost you each day, week, month, and year.

But the real cost is much worse.

Check it out: This very cool new website, The Real Cost, highlights that smoking can cost:

  • Your mouth: Smoking causes bad breath, stained teeth, and tooth loss.
  • Your skin: You may find an older-looking face in the mirror thanks to premature wrinkles.
  • Your lungs: Smoking “stunts” your lungs, or delays their development.
  • Your self-control: It gets harder and harder to resist with each cigarette smoked.
  • Your life: Lifelong smokers die an average of 13 years earlier than nonsmokers.

Brought to us by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The Real Cost makes it really (really!) clear just how our health suffers, not to mention our independence, when we get hooked on tobacco products. And since it’s extremely hard to stop smoking once you’ve started, this information should help teens to decide for themselves never to start the habit in the first place.

Tobacco use almost always starts in the teen years, and the younger you are when you start, the more difficult it is to quit. Just a few cigarettes a month can lead to cravings. Three out of four teens who say they will stop smoking in 5 years, don’t.

There’s a reason why the tobacco industry spent about $8.4 billion in 2011 on advertising—nearly $23 million a day.

Tell us in comments: Do any of these real costs matter to you? What “real cost” stops you from smoking cigarettes?

If you or a friend is ready to quit smoking, chat live with a quit expert, call 1-877-448-7848, or visit Smokefree Teen.

Still not convinced the price of smoking is high enough to quit? Check out Drugs + Your Body, an interactive tool showing tobacco’s health effects on your lungs, skin, and mouth.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


are all of you'll sure tha tdoing drugs are okay if so can i have reason on why i shouldn't do cocoaine now that i am getting out of high school this year.

There are both short-term and long-term effects of using cocaine. Cocaine can immediately cause feelings of sickness, decrease appetite, increase risk of heart attack and stroke, and increase risk for getting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Long-term use of cocaine can cause tolerance to the drug. This causes people to take greater amounts or to use cocaine more often to get the same high. Such use can lead to strange, unpredictable behavior. Some people who abuse cocaine experience panic attacks or episodes of full-blown paranoid psychosis, in which they lose touch with reality and hear sounds that aren’t there. For more information, visit

Doing drugs are not okay, it ruins everything including your future.
what is the cost of cocaine?

Much like tobacco, cocaine use can affect your health and appearance.  For example, regularly snorting cocaine can lead to voice hoarseness, loss of the sense of smell, nosebleeds, and constant runny nose (gross!).  

makes you mental
if you get caught doing it, then it can ruin your reputation, especially if you want to get a decent job. Your boss will look at your permanent recored and see that you have done drugs, and then it will be harder to get a good job.
my mom use to do drugs fir awhile and drink alot. i didnt even know my mom till i was like 11 cause all i really knew was her drunkin self .