If you are a smoker you might want to take note. Lighting up is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. and despite that fact tobacco companies are still bringing in unprecedented profits.
You may not be a smoker but chances are you know someone who smokes. The cost of smoking takes a toll on more than just health, the amount of money spent can add up to thousands of dollars. The addiction is a hard habit to break but there are people and resources ready to help smokers stop and start saving at no cost.
According to Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids the average price per pack now around $5.50 in the Hoosier state and in the Bluegrass. In Illinois a pack of cigarettes costs about $8.50 on average.
In Vanderburgh County the health department offers two programs both funded through grants making them completely free to clients. Baby and Me Tobacco Free is a program tailored to get pregnant moms to stop smoking. Mothers are given incentives like a free diaper bag and diapers to participate in the program. The county also offers free nicotine patches or gum through a five week smoking cessation program. One of the first things you learn, how much it costs to light up, “We put it right out in front — how much are they going to be saving. Most of them find out they could have been very wealthy if they had stopped this habit,” said Mary Jo Borowiecki — she leads some of the cessation meetings and understands quitting is not easy.
Borowiecki says breaking the addiction is all about retraining your brain, “We really emphasize in the first two weeks of our five week program triggers and coping mechanisms and what are you going to do instead of going outside on your deck everyday to have that first cigarette how are you going to change that up?”
Cutting out cigarettes is a big life change that can lead to better health and more money. Doing the math is nearly convincing within itself. A pack of cigarettes a day in just one year can add up to more than $2,000.
The next session of cessation classes in Vanderburgh County begin Wednesday, August 7th. To sign up you can contact the Vanderburgh County Health Department at 812-435-5385.