Teens are so easily influenced by the things they see, the things their peers do. Some of them use pretty foul language despite coming from homes where vulgar language is never spoken. Some teens drink or take drugs, perhaps being influenced by parents as well as friends.

While watching my own son go through high school, he was influenced by outside sources that smoking was something cool to do. First, he talked about cigarettes, then he talked about e-cigarettes and vaping. I kept stressing what an unhealthy choice either of those things would have been and somehow I won the battle.

My parents smoked when I was quite young. I don’t know how they did it, but when my mother’s health took a dive, they both quit cold turkey. That was more than 45 years ago and as far as I know, they neither one smoked again.

My grandmother was a little different. Even after my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer and quit smoking, she continued to do so. Even after his painful death, she continued to chain smoke. Before my grandmother’s death, you could go to her apartment and walk in feeling like someone had just hit you in the chest because the smoke was so thick and smelled so bad. After she passed, the things we gathered from her apartment were stained and smelled horrible, all from the cigarettes.

My son bought a used car last year and the only thing either of us could find fault with it was the smell of cigarette smoke in an otherwise nice vehicle. Even after all of this time and all of the cleaning and air fresheners we’ve put in it, the smell is still there.

According to the personal-finance website WalletHub, there are an estimated 37.8 million tobacco users in the United States today. The economic and societal costs of smoking total more than $300 billion a year and those costs are rising.

WalletHub calculated the potential monetary losses of smoking, including the lifetime and annual costs of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

On the average, Florida ranked less than average in the category of out-of-pocket cost per smoker, which was estimated at $110,759. The state also ranked less than average for income loss per smoker ($207,603) and financial-opportunity cost per smoker ($1,218,912).

However, Florida ranks above average in the health-care cost per smoker ($169,269) and “other” costs per smoker ($17,571).

WalletHub reports the total cost per year for a Florida smoker is $33,808. Over the lifetime of a Florida smoker, the total cost is $1,724,214

I don’t know about you, but I can sure I better way to spend that kind of money. If you want to check out what the averages are for another state, check out the report at https://wallethub.com/edu/the-financial-cost-of-smoking-by-state/9520/. It is rather interesting.

Romona Washington is executive editor of the Highlands News-Sun and Highlands Sun. Contact her via email at romona.washington@highlandsnewssun.com^p

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