Study: The actual cost of cigarettes -- $18

A new study by the American Lung Association finds that smokers who quit puffing up can not only help save lives, but also economically benefit states. You might being saying, "duh," right now. But the study's findings may surprise you.

The study says that smoking in the U.S. actually costs around $18.05 even though the national average for a pack of 20 cigarettes is $5.51. What gives? The extra $13.50 comes in once the cost of smoking on the U.S. economy is factored in.

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According to the study, smoking results in economic costs of more than $301 billion. That includes workplace productivity losses of $67.5 billion, costs of premature death at $117 billion and medical expenditures totaling $116 billion.

"This study spells out in dollars and cents the great potential economic benefits to states of helping smokers quit. We urge the District of Columbia and all states to offer full coverage of clinically proven cessation treatments for smokers, which will not only save lives but also money," said Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, in a press release.

Researchers at Penn State University helped to conduct study, dubbed "Smoking Cessation: the Economic Benefits."

Tobacco use kills 393,000 people yearly (another 50,000 die from exposure to secondhand smoke) and is the number one preventable cause of illness in the U.S. The ALA hopes the study will give states some incentive to investment in programs that help smokers quit. Surveys show that 70 percent of tobacco users want to quit smoking.

For more on the study, visit here.

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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