Smoking, The Amazing Financial Factor


The Amazing Financial Factor!

Do You Know How Much the Smoking Habit

is Costing You?

How Would You Answer these Questions:

  • Do you have any idea how much money is spent by a smoker each day, each week, and each year?
  • If a person chooses to save an amount equal to that spent by the smoker for cigarettes, how much would he have in the bank by retirement age?
  • Do you want to learn how one could become a millionaire?

Learn the answers to these interesting and vital questions by reading this fascinating account! You may be astonished with THE AMAZING FINANCIAL FACTOR!

If you are a smoker, you know that tobacco has been condemned in various ways over the years. You have heard the slogan, “Just Say No!” And you know that, in many respects, what is true of illegal drugs is also true of nicotine—the drug in tobacco that makes smoking so addictive.

The secular medical institutions emphasize the health factor and warn of the severe and detrimental physical effects of smoking. We know that smoking is related to lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and many other serious, debilitating and even fatal diseases. We’ve read that one out of five deaths may be attributed to the use of tobacco! The warning on every pack of cigarettes testifies to the health danger. The Christian, of course, must not harm his physical body since the Holy Spirit dwells in him and he belongs to God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). He knows that his body is to be treated with respect and offered up in sacrifice to the Lord (Romans 12:1). Everyone—believer and unbeliever alike—is responsible to care for the physical body that God has given.

The Christian has further reasons to avoid smoking. He refuses to smoke since this habit would ruin his influence with unbelievers (1 Cor. 9:19-23). It would be a poor example (Titus 2:7), and would encourage others to take up the same sinful habit (1 Tim. 5:22). Further, it harms the health of family and friends who are forced to breathe the “passive smoke” of the cigarette, thus it violates the law of love (Romans 13:8-10). Again, the smoker refuses to walk in the steps of Jesus who surely would not have used tobacco if it had been available in His day (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). These considerations are usually offered to show why a Christian cannot smoke and why it would be sinful for anyone else to smoke.

The Financial Factor

However, there is another factor that is of great importance. It is a factor that may make a powerful appeal even to those who do not know God or respect His written Word, the Bible. Sometimes this point is not given its proper emphasis. We might call it “the AMAZING financial factor”!

Few of us are totally aware of the full cost of this filthy practice. Generally the smoker simply thinks in terms of the money he hands the convenience store cashier or the cost of a carton at the supermarket. This, however, is a very limited perspective. Just as “the little leaks will sink the large ship,” so the price of a pack of cigarettes a day eventually will drain a person’s financial resources.

An Interesting Story

Let’s explore the interesting question of the cost of smoking, and I believe you will be shocked with the results! Are you prepared? First, note a few elementary calculations. If a man spends $3.50 each day for a pack of cigarettes, in one month he will spend $105.00 (30 x $3.50). In twelve months, this would amount to $1,260.00 spent on cigarettes. (To be precise, it would be $1,277.50, but we’ll just deal with estimates.) Wouldn’t you say this is a great sum of money to spend on a habit that provides nothing more than momentary “pleasure” (Heb. 11:25)—and an early grave!

Suppose that there are two fifteen-year-old boys—Wise William and Foolish Frank. Suppose that Foolish Frank begins to smoke when he is fifteen (most smokers begin their habit as teenagers). He begins to spend $3.50 each day and soon this grows into an almost unbreakable habit. However, suppose that Wise William chooses not to start smoking when his friend begins. Instead, he chooses to place the amount of a pack of cigarettes in a local bank for safekeeping and to earn interest. He does this regularly—day by day, month by month—for a year and is able to receive 10% interest on his investment. At the end of the first year, he has deposited $1,260.00 in the bank and also has earned interest!

William faithfully continues this practice and refuses to smoke, although Frank often encourages him to take up the habit. William, however, does not yield to his friend’s pressure. Besides, he likes the idea of having money in the bank! At the end of the second year, William will have $2,520.00 in the bank (plus interest)—but Frank will have nothing. At the end of the next year, William will have $3,780 in the bank, plus interest. You guessed it—Frank still has nothing in the bank! By the time William reaches age twenty-five, he has deposited $12,603.50 and has collected $9,018.07 interest, for a total of $21,621.57! William concludes that it really doesn’t pay to smoke! And Frank continues to lay $3.50 on the counter each day to fuel his wasteful habit! Frank begins to think of the car he could have bought if he had not taken up smoking! Besides, he is developing shortness of breath.

The young man William continues to save the amount that his friend Frank spends for tobacco each day. By the time he reaches age thirty-five, William has $80,141.76 in the bank—enough to buy four new cars or a house! However, instead of taking anything out of the bank, he allows it to remain there and adds the $3.50 each day that he saves from not smoking. By the time that he reaches middle-age (at 45 years), William will have $238,559.94 in the bank—enough to buy a couple of houses and a couple of cars. Frank still has nothing saved but does continue paying $3.50 each day to satisfy his tobacco craving. Frank has developed high blood pressure, a touch of heart disease, and is having difficulty breathing. He sometimes watches enviously and longingly as his friend William runs by the house on his 5-mile run in the mornings! If only he could break this costly habit!

When William reaches fifty-five years of age, he will have $667,409.51 in the bank, while Frank still has nothing. Frank begins to think of the six houses and six cars he could have purchased if he had been much wiser at age fifteen. Besides this, Frank finds that he is spending a lot more to support his personal physician and a couple of heart and lung specialists! He can no longer mow the grass without chest pains and panting.

What will our friends have at a retirement age of sixty-six? This may surprise, shock, or dismay you—depending on whether or not you are a smoker. The amount that Wise William has saved by not smoking, but by placing his money in the bank instead, amounts to $2,021,147.51—over two million dollars! This is the AMAZING financial factor! Obviously, if William’s wife followed the same practice, together they would have over $4,000,000.00 in the bank at retirement! As for Foolish Frank, he reaches retirement age thinking of the thousands of dollars wasted during the course of his life. We might add that the day after he retires, Frank dies of lung cancer, heart disease, and a stroke (the average one-pack-a-day smoker dies seven years earlier than the non-smoker). In the meanwhile, William rises at the break of dawn for a brisk walk, with clear lungs and a strong heart!

How Should We View this Waste?

No one can suggest that smoking is a cheap habit. It amounts to an astronomical cost over a lifetime. Of course, money isn’t everything—and neither is health. But these factors should be carefully weighed by any user of tobacco. Think of over $2,000,000.00 wasted! Could you use this amount? It could purchase twenty houses. It could buy a hundred new automobiles. It could be used to support one’s family. It could be used to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, or provide for the unemployed. It could help support a number of preachers on foreign soil. Instead, it was used to gratify the smoker’s own sensual, fleshly, selfish desires. The smoker squanders his paycheck and wastes his resources for momentary pleasure.

Is waste of money significant? One who knows the mind of God on the subject knows how important finances really are. To the smoker we might well ask, with Isaiah, “Why do you spend . . . your wages for what does not satisfy?” (55:2a). Tobacco can’t really satisfy our deepest longings. Even the smoker will acknowledge this. We might recall how the “prodigal” (i.e., wasteful) son in Jesus’ parable “squandered his estate” and “spent everything” in a distant country (Luke 15:13-14). Only later did he realize his folly.

The Lord Jesus stated that our use of money tells something very important about our heart—our true selves. He said, “If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon [wealth, money], who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Luke 16:11). He also said, “He who is faithful in a very little thing [money] is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much” (v. 10). It is quite evident that the smoker is not “faithful” in his finances. He has failed the crucial “test” that reveals his heart.

As good “stewards” of all of the Lord’s money that He has entrusted to us, we must be “found trustworthy” (1 Cor. 4:2). The smoker surely is not “trustworthy” in the use of money that God has given to him. Instead, there is a waste of the Lord’s money to feed his tobacco addiction. We must carefully, prayerfully, wisely use all of the finances He provides. We must not waste any of it. Let us not forget our Lord’s concern about waste when, after feeding the 5,000 men, plus women and children, He said to the disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost” (John 6:12). The Lord Jesus is vitally interested in the issue of money and how we spend His resources.

A Matter Worth Considering

$2,000,000 is not something to take lightly. It is the amazing financial factor! We would encourage any who may be considering taking up the tobacco habit or who may presently be enslaved to smoking to weigh this factor along with the many other points generally offered against smoking. There are several dozen reasons why smoking is an unloving, filthy, foolish, inconsiderate, unkind, immoral, unwise, and sinful habit! (See our booklet, Tobacco: What Does the Bible Say?)

If someone out of Christ may be reading these words, I do not want you to receive the wrong impression, that renouncing the smoking habit will make you pleasing to God and take you to heaven. Mere moral reformation cannot save from sin. The crucified and risen Christ is the only Savior from sin—including the sin of smoking. His death alone is the basis of God’s forgiveness of tobacco use. He plainly said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

If one does come to God through Christ in sincere repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19,26), he will have a “change of heart” that turns from sin—including a renunciation of smoking (Prov. 28:13; Acts 26:20). Throwing away your tobacco will not save you from sin—but Christ can save you from tobacco! He can give you the power to turn from your bondage to tobacco (Romans 8:13). His strength will be sufficient to overcome your slavery to all sin (Phil. 4:13; Romans 6:17-22).

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If you would like to learn more about why smoking and other sins are wrong and how you can be rescued from slavery to sin, please write for additional information. One further comment is in order. The use of the illustration in this article (that of saving large amounts of money for use in the unknown distant future) does not mean that it would be proper for the Christian to lay up “treasures upon earth” rather than “treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:19-21). The believer definitely will desire to use his finances for the cause of Christ and the glory of God rather than selfishly accumulate vast sums of money for his materialistic pursuits. The illustration was simply employed to show the real but often overlooked cost of smoking.

(The calculations used in the illustration of saving were taken from the information supplied by Bank of America at my request.)

Richard Hollerman

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