High price of smoking

  • John Steinhorst / The Garden Island

    A Koloa resident takes a smoke break with a Kool menthol cigarette.

LIHUE — A 67-year-old Koloa man smokes almost a whole pack of Kool Blues menthol cigarettes every day at home and during work breaks.

“It’s nice after a meal or in the morning with my cup of coffee,” Kawika said. “Otherwise, it’s something to do with my hands when I’m driving into town. It’s a habit, addiction basically to nicotine.”

Kawika, who wanted to keep his last name anonymous, has been smoking for 10 years after quitting for almost a decade. He hasn’t noticed any negative effects on his health, such as shortness of breath or heart conditions.

“Healthwise, I don’t think I’ve really noticed any change,” Kawika said. “I just know it would be better for me if I quit.”

Tobacco use accounts for nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. each year and is the leading cause of lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association.

“Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., and Hawaii is no exception,” said Janet Berreman, Kauai district health officer. “Cigarette smoke is harmful to health, both for the smoker and for those exposed to smoke second-hand; there is no safe level of tobacco smoke exposure.”

In Hawaii, there are about 1,400 deaths each year related to smoking, according to the Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention Program.

“Smoking causes heart and lung disease; children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to have asthma attacks, ear infections, and even SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome),” Berreman said.

In 2016, Kauai prohibited smoking in a vehicle when children the age of 12 or under were present.

WalletHub calculated the potential monetary losses — 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.

The financial cost of smoking in Hawaii (1=Lowest):

w Out-of-pocket cost per smoker: $167,535 (Rank: 47th)

w Financial-opportunity cost per smoker: $1,407,368 (Rank: 47th)

w Health-care cost per smoker: $185,243 (Rank: 36th)

w Income loss per smoker: $293,666 (Rank: 47th)

w Other costs per smoker: $13,842 (Rank: 40th)

w Total cost over lifetime per smoker: $2,067,655

w Total cost per year per smoker: $40,542

Every year, Americans spend more than $300 billion, which includes both medical care and lost productivity. Some people will have to pay more depending on the state they live in.

“I don’t really factor it into my expense,” Kawika said. “It’s just something that I purchase when I

get low, so I don’t run out.”

His brand sells for about $10 a pack at the Koloa Texaco Station, and he spends about $300 each month.

“I’m thinking about trying to quit now partly because of the expense,” Kawika said. “If I stop, I’ll have more money.”

Cigarette manufacturing giant Philip Morris International recently released a smoke-free electronic product that heats tobacco, releasing nicotine-containing vapors. However, long-term effects have yet to be determined.

The Department of Health can provide information for individuals who want help with quitting smoking.

  1. Charlie Chimknee January 28, 2018 10:04 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Cigarettes, tobacco, and nicotine…they are all your best friends…Who Always BeTRAY You In The End…! ! ! They are your companion after a meal, with an alcoholic beverage, and when contemplating during a relaxing moment, these toxic companions are like the devil on your shoulder restoring the rancid euphoria that betrays you at your early end…not to mention oral cancers of the lips and mouth, and unfavorable effects on the teeth.

    Kawika we love you, we need you, you need to fully do your part in this life’s journey…after all we are not on earth for a mere jaunt.

    Why, did you know, the chemical drug nicotine is not only addictive, causing a rancid euphoria in your brain that craves repeats as do opiates; but it also causes your entire body’s arteries, both large and small to shrink in size (in diameter like a 3/4” hose down to a 1/4” hose, that’s called vasoconstriction or narrowing of your blood vessels, in this case the arteries and arterioles, the little arteries). If you cut back the water supply to plants they wither and die too…called accelerated degeneration.

    Your arteries and arterioles carry “freshened” blood from your lungs with new oxygen to your body’s cells, (we hope you don’t live in an air polluted city or near the volcano) and also your blood carries fresh nutrients from your food to be used for energy (your fuel for the day for your body’s cells and systems) and your new continual throughout life body replacement parts, (you know, like new replacements to make renewed cells, tissues, and organs) that’s called rejuvenation and regeneration. And that is another reason why quality, vital, live (not dead) natural food is so important for your health (the very opposite of disease); and why junk food, chemicals in food, added sugars, artificial flavors and colors, etc., and toxic poisons like insecticide and pesticide are inferior food and unfit for quality of health and longevity as it applies to most people and why some lives are shorter than others. Some people live into their 90’s and 100’s, and others only their 50’s and since they (all of us) eat food daily, food is a known contributor to a short or long life, and why they say you are what you eat. You can have cow consciousness or super vegetable vitality.

    Going a step further science now knows that when your arteries shrink or constrict in the size of their internal opening or canal, said another way, narrowing the internal size of the blood vessels, from eating the fats in animal meat and clogging your arteries, the smaller the blood vessel’s interior size carries less blood and therefore less oxygen it can carry that should be going to your bodies organs and the other areas of your body.

    Less oxygen to your organs causes them to undergo silent and unseen accelerated degeneration (and why as you said, you can’t feel it or feel sick) which is like speeding up the aging process leading to an earlier loss of life, as tobacco smoke also does to the skin on the faces of smokers causing wrinkles…aging of the skin. For women, not smoking can be a natural (preventative) beauty aid. FREE.

    While we are at it Let’s Not Forget the requirement for longevity that involves continual ongoing through life neurological integrity, also called a no interruption to the nervous system messaging system between your brain and your body’s cells, tissues, organs, and systems.

    Speaking of smoking…Popcorn Lung…? An incurable lung condition from E-cigarette smoking, also called Vaping. Apparently there is a ballooning of the lung tissue that exchanges our body’s gaseous waste from the blood flowing into the lungs called CO2 (carbon dioxide) and exchanging it for O2, the fresh Oxygen, a body vital nutrient. (Both are actually a gas.) The ballooning, caused by vaping, of the lung tissue damages the micro gas exchangers of CO2 and O2, these gas exchangers are called alveoli.

    This ballooning of the lung tissue prevents or sadly diminishes excretion of the body waste CO2 and also sadly diminishes the inbound nutrient Oxygen, this diminished oxygen enter our blood stream leads to even more accelerated degeneration of the body’s cells, tissues, and organs…and less life.

    It would seem due to the complexity of our bodies that smoking anything is not in our life’s best interest, we already know that meth, “crack”, opiates, tobacco, and other drugs shorten life and can make life miserable, and it’s for sure pakalolo makes people stupid as we can see it in friends who smoke it and make too many mistakes when they are on their euphoric “high”, while the others of us who are smoke free would not make those stupid mistakes.

    Though it is important to Respect Stupidity…aren’t they the majority…?



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