Thank me for smoking, and keep the change

The always interesting Zubin Jelveh interviews W. Kip Viscusi:

What are the differences between smokers' cost to themselves and smokers' cost to society?

The other study I've done is looking at the financial ramifications to smoking for the rest of us. These include higher medical costs on the one hand, but lower social security, pension, and nursing home costs on the other hand because smokers die sooner. On balance if you put those together, smokers don't cost us money, but save society $0.32 per pack.

I kinda object to not being counted as part of 'society' - which according to Viscusi consists solely of non-smokers - but I forgive him: I like the idea non-smokers owe me money.

Viscusi also has a new NBER paper out (with Joni Hersch) estimating the personal cost of a pack of cigarettes to be around $220 for male smokers and $90 for females. For what it's worth, $220 sounds a bit high to me - I reckon my reservation price for a pack of 'healthy cigarettes' (if they existed) would be around $100.

Any smokers in the audience who would like to name the maximum they would be willing to pay for a pack of healthy ciggies?

by datacharmer | Wednesday, November 21, 2007
  | | Thank me for smoking, and keep the change @bluematterblogtwitter


  1. Anonymous Says:

    $100 may still be a high price to pay, although that depends on how many packs you smoke, and how rich you are!

    A "social" smoker that consumes one pack a week may be willing to pay $100,however a chain smoker that smokes one, or even more, packs a day, may not even earn that amount of money.

    Another possibility could be that smokers mix between healthy and non-healthy cigarettes.

    Personally, given that I have been trying to quite but only managed to cut down, I would probably pay about $60 for a healthy pack, and quit non-healthy ones completely. Though that would mean cutting down on quantities too!

  2. Anonymous Says:


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