3 Expensive Vices That Will Destroy Your Health And Your Wallet

By Sarita Harbour

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Habits likes smoking or drinking too much can be tough to break but when you look at the cost (in dollars and cents) and of course health-wise you may be motivated to change your ways.


Most people have a bad habit they’d like to break, but if you’re indulging in one of these expensive vices, you could face serious financial issues.

Along with monetary costs, most of these bad habits also have a negative impact on your health, in some cases, causing permanent physical harm and even death.

If you’re guilty of one or more of these three expensive vices and want to avoid permanent damage to your health, wallet and relationships, you might want to consider coming up with a plan to rid yourself of these habits. See exactly how much these guilty pleasures are costing you:

-Smoking: Life-threatening diseases and up to $10,625 per year

Cost over time: Smoking costs Americans $300 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And then there’s the cost of cigarettes themselves, currently averaging $6.16 a pack. So for smokers with a pack-a-day habit, your vice costs another $2,248 annually. In New York City, a pack of Marlboro Lights will run you $13.88, or $5,066 annually for a pack a day.

Cost of related treatments: In the U.S., $170 billion in direct medical costs are spent for adult smokers and another $156 billion is wasted in lost productivity. So with 16 million smokers, that’s $10,625 per person in direct medical costs, plus $9,750 in lost production per person per year for a total of $20,375.

Increased insurance costs: Depending on where in the country you live, expect to pay up to 50 percent more for your health insurance. So if the insurance premium for a non-smoker is $300 per month, a smoker could expect to pay $450 monthly.

Lifetime consequences: In addition to the billions of dollars lost to this bad habit, smoking causes many serious and fatal health conditions and diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Each year, smoking causes 480,000 deaths in the U.S., and smokers have a life expectancy that’s 10 years less than non-smokers, on average. So if you’re hooked, now might be a good time to check out some ways to stop smoking.

Excessive alcohol: Chronic health conditions and $16,490 annually

Cost over time: Alcohol misuse cost Americans $249 billion in 2010, the most recent year with available figures. The 2015 National Drug Use and Health Survey found that 15.1 million adults age 18 and over live with alcohol use disorder. So excessive alcohol use could cost you $16,490 per year.

Cost of related treatments: If alcohol is a problem for you, the cost of getting help varies widely. Rehab programs might cost anywhere from $1,000 to $60,000, depending on the length of the program, the type of treatment and the facility.

Increased insurance costs: Yes, especially your car insurance if you’re charged with a DUI. In fact, your car insurance could increase by as much as $800 per year, according to legal resource Nolo. And in the first year after a DUI, your car insurance premiums will rise on average by 94.13 percent, according to insurance rate provider CoverHound. But where you live also comes into play: For example, North Carolina residents with a DUI could see their car insurance rates increase by as much as 300 percent.

Lifetime consequences: Excessive alcohol use is associated with chronic health conditions like risky sexual behavior, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Many Americans might enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage without serious harm to wallet or health, but excessive alcohol use, such as binge drinking, heavy drinking, underage drinking and drinking while pregnant, causes all kinds of problems. In the U.S., 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

-Eating fast food: Obesity, heart disease and $14,000 per year

Cost over time: The average American spends about $3,008 on restaurant food each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cost of related treatments: You’ll pay as much as $14,000 per year for a single prescription drug to treat high cholesterol. And on a nationwide basis, the cost of treating heart disease and stroke costs the country $320 billion annually, including medical costs and lost productivity.

Increased insurance costs: Yes. Monthly premiums can cost as much as $750 or more for people who have had heart failure, according to a June 2016 report by Everyday Health, a digital marketing and communications platform for health care companies.

Lifetime consequences: Studies show that fried fast foods can increase your risk for higher body fat and obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol. So cutting out regular stops at restaurants like McDonalds or Taco Bell could help your wallet, and your waistline.

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