Smokers Earn Less Money, So Here Are 7 Frugal Tips to Help You Quit

Photo (cc) by Qfamily

It’s no secret that smoking is not only horrible for your health but also ridiculously expensive. It’s also true that indulging in the habit causes you to earn less money — about 20 percent less, says a study by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

It’s not that smokers are less productive. About 60 percent of the pay difference can be attributed to factors like having less education than nonsmokers. But another factor seems to be that people who smoke face a bias in the workplace. A press release about the study, conducted by economists Melinda Pitts and Julie Hotchkiss, explains:

Perhaps their most surprising finding is that the wage gap doesn’t vary by smoking intensity. “A person who smokes one cigarette per day faces a similar penalty as a person who smokes a pack a day,” explained Pitts, who directs the Atlanta Fed’s Center for Human Capital Studies. “Since smoking more cigarettes is known to result in greater health problems and work absences, the fact that the penalty doesn’t increase as smoking intensity increases suggests that the wage penalty is more related to a bias in the workplace against smokers than it is related to lower productivity among smokers,” she continued.

It’s a nasty habit that’s not getting cheaper. More states are increasing their tax on cigarettes. The Awl, in an annual survey, found a price of $14.50 for a pack of Marlboro Reds in New York City. The cheapest was just under $5 in Kentucky.

Need even more incentive to be smoke-free? The Federal Reserve study also says that people who quit smoking make more than smokers and also more than workers who never lit up at all.

Here are our cheap tips for snuffing out your addiction:

1. Start with a plan

A quit plan should cover everything from the reasons you’re quitting to the triggers that make you want to smoke. This list can be used as inspiration and reminder. The SmokeFree website offers many tips for compiling this list, including choosing a quit date and informing your friends and family about your plan.

2. Talk to an ex-smoker

Learning how someone else kicked the habit can help immensely. They can assist with not only advice but also support. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a whole campaign based on this idea. The real stories include people who have suffered heart attacks from smoking and also teens impacted by secondhand smoke.

3. Research

Your doctor’s office more than likely has brochures filled with information. If you don’t feel like trekking there, SmokeFree has multiple booklets available. Topics range from the particular issues faced by smokers who are older than 50 to pregnant women who want to quit.

4. Call an expert

Help lines assist with answering your questions about smoking and quitting and also offer support.

The National Cancer Institute has (877) 44U-QUIT. Trained counselors are available for both English and Spanish speakers. It’s available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time. It’s free.

Each state has its own help line. All of them are linked through (800) QUIT-NOW. The services and times vary in each location.

5. Use apps and texts

QuitStart is a free smartphone app created by the Tobacco Control Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute. It will help you track your cravings, identify your triggers and remind you of quitting milestones. You can also upload personal inspiration to help you through the more challenging times.

SmokefreeTXT is another free option. The texting service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will message you with advice and encouragement. The program can last from six to eight weeks and includes one to five texts daily. You can sign up online through the link or with your phone by texting the word “QUIT” to 47848.

6. Let medications help

Medications are available to help you with cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you’re quitting. They range from patches to gum to prescription medications. Your health insurance may cover smoking cessation products and medications. If not, see if your state’s smoking cessation program will make them available for free to you. Click here for more information on your options.

7. Exercise away cravings

People who go for a jog or engage in some other physical activity when they have a hankering for a smoke are more likely to be successful, says Men’s Health. Researchers think exercising not only distracts people from their vice but also may elevate their mood, lessening the desire to light up.

Have you quit smoking? Please share any tips with us on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
28 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
28 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

From entertainment to education, if you know the tricks, you can save big.

How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Sell Things
How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Sell Things

Find out where to sell, donate or recycle items — and feel good about it.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck in 8 Steps
How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck in 8 Steps

Does it feel like your paycheck is gone the moment you get it? You can break that vicious cycle.

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom in Minutes
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom in Minutes

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

Do This in the Car If You Want to Avoid COVID-19
Do This in the Car If You Want to Avoid COVID-19

It takes just seconds to take this simple preventive measure.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.