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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

Welcome to my Opinion Pages

Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my thoughts. I hope you will find an enjoyable adventure here on my pages.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Resolutions

If your New Year Resolution was to quit smoking and you are finding it difficult to stick with your plan, consider the cost of smoking to have another motivation to stop.  The cost in money is bad enough, but the health cost is even greater.

Some people find it difficult to quit smoking cigarettes and find little motivation to do so. Even though the cigarette package bears a warning to one’s health, it still does not seem to be significant enough to eliminate smoking. Perhaps it is because a person feels healthy and smoking is incremental…one cigarette at a time. A person usually does not feel any worse after smoking only one cigarette.

Monetary cost

The other side of the incremental perspective however, could be the cost associated with smoking. A package of cigarettes usually comes in a package of 20. A package of a popular brand of cigarettes will cost approximately $5.20. The following incremental breakdown of the cost is surprising.

If a person smokes one package of cigarettes per day it will cost $5.20 in that one day. That does not seem like a lot, and if it is only an incidental cost it is not that much. However, in the incremental perspective at the end of a week the cost of smoking a pack a day is $36.40. Examine the following table:

Month = $156.00
Year = $1900.08
5 Years = $9500.40
10 Years = 19,000.80
15 Years = $28,501.20
20 Years = 38,001.20
25 Years = 47,502.00

Hmm…one pack a day costs $47,502.00 in twenty-five years. That is assuming that the government will not increase the tax on cigarettes over the next 25 years. Over forty-seven thousand dollars could go a long way toward paying off a mortgage. Remember, incrementally is only one cigarette at a time.

Health cost

Of course the cost has to include the health aspect as well. Lighting up a cigarette and inhaling the smoke into our lungs has been shown to be directly linked to significant health risks. In one day for the pack-a-day smoker is of course 20 cigarettes. The number increases to 140 in a week. Examine the following table:

Month = 600
Year = 7308
5 Years = 36,540
10 Years = 73,080
15 Years = 109,620
20 Years = 146,160
25 Years = 182,700

Wow! In twenty-five years the smoker has burned up $47,502 and has also smoked 182,700 cigarettes.

Investment cost

Another cost to consider is the loss of potential investment earnings. Consider the magic of compounded interest especially from the incremental perspective. Any calculation Table will demonstrate the potential earnings of saving the cost of a package of cigarettes. By saving the $5.20 per day in a compounded savings account at 3% compounded interest it will yield approximately $70,382.58 in twenty-five years. Of course the potential savings could be even greater if the $5.20 per day were invested in other forms of earning potential stocks or bonds.


By quitting smoking a person can earn and save at the same time over the next twenty-five years of their life. By not smoking any more cigarettes and instead investing the cost of the package of cigarettes over the next twenty-five years, the smoker will have…

• Not smoked 182,700 cigarettes and will likely be much more healthy;

• Not spent and burned up $47,502 over the same period of time; and,

• By investing the cost of cigarettes that would have been spent by continuing to smoke, the non-smoker will have approximately $70,382.58 to spend on other things.

What could be more of a motivation to quit smoking and avoid the incremental effects of loss of money and health, and at the same time gaining the incremental effects of compounded interest investments?

Jim Killebrew
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