Louisiana has the nation’s lowest cost of smoking

Cigarettes can cost smokers a lot, but the price may be less in Louisiana than it is in other states.

Aside from the obvious health risks, WalletHub, a personal finance website, has calculated the true financial cost of smoking by state and found the habit costs Louisiana smokers an average of $1.2 million over their lifetimes.

That’s half what smokers in New York — the most expensive state — will pay over their lifetimes, based on WalletHub’s analysis.

Americans collectively spend about $326 billion a year on smoking-related costs, including nearly $170 billion in direct health-care costs and more than $156 billion in productivity losses.

The individual cost in Louisiana is likely going up slightly after the state Legislature raised the state tobacco tax last year from 36 cents per pack to 86 cents. An additional increase has been floated as a potential measure to address the state’s revenue shortfall in the coming legislative session, which means the actual cost to smokers here could soon be even more. The state went from the third lowest tobacco tax rate to the 14th lowest.

Smoking costs Louisiana residents an average of about $24,160 a year, based on WalletHub’s analysis.

Aside from the direct costs, WalletHub factored the wage gap between smokers and non-smokers and found that, over the course of their lifetimes, Louisiana smokers will lose out on an estimated $183,563 in additional income due to workplace bias, absenteeism or lower productivity related to smoking.

See how other states stack up and the methodology WalletHub used here.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter @elizabethcrisp. For more coverage of Louisiana state government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog .

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