bad lungs

We all know that smoking is an unhealthy habit. Each year about 200,000 people in Japan alone die from smoking- (and passive smoking-) related illnesses. On a global scale, about six million die from smoking-related diseases every year.

In an effort to reduce the number of smokers in Japan, Japanese anti-smoking NPO No Smoke holds an annual video contest titled “Tobacco is Harmful to Your Health”, calling for original video submissions that raise awareness of the dangers and harmful effects of smoking.

The first-place winner of the video contest held in 2012 created a movie highlighting the simple differences between smokers and non-smokers in terms of financial cost. As we’re about to see, smoking is not only harmful to your health but a horribly expensive habit.

If the average cost of a packet of cigarettes in Japan is 440 yen (US$3.65), and if you smoke a packet a day, how much would you spend over 50 years as a smoker? In less than one minute, the 2012 winning video does the math and provides the financial costs of smoking over 50 years. The calculations will definitely make you think twice about taking up smoking.

Over the course of a week, a pack-a-day smoker would spend 3,080 yen (US$25). A non-smoker, on the other hand, could spend that money on something equally (or arguably more) enjoyable and less harmful to the body and those around them, such as the cost of a meal at a yakiniku (Korean BBQ) restaurant.

In a month, a smoker would spend 13,200 yen (US$109) on their pack-a-day habit. Meanwhile, with the cost savings, a non-smoker could be enjoying a weekend getaway or an overnight trip to a hot spring, which begs the question, which would you enjoy more?

Over the course of a year, a smoker will have forked out a massive 160,600 yen (US$1,333) for life-sapping cigarettes. With that kind of money, someone who didn’t smoke would have the opportunity to buy a brand new, top-of-the-line camera or some other electronic gadget like a massive flat-screen TV. In fact, that much money would even get you an Apple Macbook if you shop around.

Looking further ahead, while trying no to think of the state of our pack-a-day smoker’s lungs, over 10 years they would have spent an eye-watering 1,600,000 yen (US$13,286)—enough to purchase a small car. The financial incentive in terms of savings and opportunity cost is hard to ignore. Curbing daily spending habits, whether it be a packet of a cigarettes or a cup of takeaway coffee, can have huge cost effects in the long-term.

Finally, the video looks 50 years ahead, which is nearly a lifetime of smoking if one takes up smoking at the age of 20—the legal minimum age in Japan. How much would they have spent in that time? Nothing short of 8,030,000 yen (US$66,676), or, in happier terms, the cost of a holiday home in Japan.


The video ends posing the question: which lifestyle would you choose if you could see the 50 years ahead? The happier, healthier answer, we hope, is obvious.

Source: Jin115, Nosmoke55
Images: YouTube/nosmokeworld