The NFEC and Truth Initiative Encourages American Youth not to “Smoke Away” Financial Security

The Truth Initiative® is America’s largest nonprofit public health organization with a stated mission of making tobacco addiction a thing of the past. The initiative grew out of the American Legacy Foundation, established as a result of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between U.S. Big Tobacco and 46 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.

The latest truth® advertising campaign highlights one of the most important reasons to avoid or quit using tobacco: the financial impact on smokers. One message this campaign promotes is the fact that, as working adults, smokers earn 20 percent less than non-smokers. Truth’s strategy is to demonstrate to teens and young adults (aged 15-25) that smoking can have a major impact on their financial futures.

According to the Truth Initiative, “What we know about young people today is that they care a lot about planning for and building a secure financial future that will allow them to live a full, experience-rich life. In other words, smoking = less money = less independence and financial stability.”

Here at the National Financial Educators Council, we commend the Truth Initiative for helping raise awareness about the importance of financial planning for one’s future lifestyle. “Eliminating underage smoking and encouraging financially responsible behavior is a message we can support wholeheartedly, and we were honored by their call to partner in the promotion of this campaign,” states Vince Shorb, NFEC CEO.

Besides the claim that smokers earn 20% less, the NFEC also points out the following financial implications of smoking:

Cost of Cigarettes: A single pack of cigarettes typically costs $5 to $6. That means smoking just a pack a day adds up to nearly $200 per month – and more than $2,000 per year. That’s enough for a few months’ rent or a down payment on a car.

Medical and Dental Costs: Smokers face much higher risk of major health issues including heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. As a result of these increased risks, smokers pay more out-of-pocket both to get health insurance and for health care expenses.

Life Insurance: Because on average smokers die younger than non-smokers, they pay higher life insurance premiums.

Housing: Smokers’ houses stink and smoking residue is toxic. Renters pay higher cleaning fees when they move out, and homeowners can lose property value when they resell their home.

Car Resale Value: The smell of smoke decreases the resale and trade-in value of a smoker’s automobile.

So smokers not only earn less, they pay more. These two factors combined can lead them down a path toward long-term financial insecurity and health problems.

The NFEC encourages parents to talk to their kids about money and smoking. Strive to be that positive role model in your child’s life and teach by example. Show kids that adopting responsible habits leads to wellness – both physical and financial – which makes all the difference in building a secure future.


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