The cost of my first relapse (Have a calculator handy)

July 24th, 2002, 8:09 pm#1

The Cost of My First Relapse

Back in December I started a parade that asked how long some of your past quits had lasted before losing them to a relapse. I think 14 people responded. Today I want to take it another route. For members who had quit at least one other time in the past, even for a few days, and then lost that quit, I would like you to estimate how long ago that quit were lost. Go back to the first quit you can remember ever doing, even if you had interim quits since then. This is a fair way of looking at it because if you think about it, those interim quits would never have had to happen if the first quit lasted. For those who never tried to quit, just work your calculations from when you started to smoke.

Then estimate how many cigarettes you smoked since that first relapse. Try to do a conservative estimate of how much those interim cigarettes ended up costing. This will often become an eye opening exercise. When you think back to how all you wanted was one, how "borrowing" one seemed so harmless, and then realizing just what the cost of that first puff was. Let us know those numbers.

As sick as the resulting numbers may make you feel, understand it is nothing compared to how sick cigarettes may actually make you if you allow yourself to let it happen again. More than just making you disgusted and emotionally sick, it can actually make you physically sick and cost you more this time. Besides the cost of cigarettes having gone up, smoking will eventually cost you your health and likely your life. To avoid a repeat of a past relapse, always remember this time around your success is contingent on always remembering to never take another puff!


Related video: What to do with the money you used to waste on cigarettes:

Last edited by Joel on March 11th, 2011, 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

July 24th, 2002, 8:10 pm#2

So that the people who have done this already don't have to go through the math again...
From: Toast (GOLD!) Sent: 12/29/2001 10:13 AM
Great idea, Joel!

I never tried to quit before, so I have to count from the beginning. Or rather, about when I remember beginning. I chose my smoking father's birthday since he died from cancer & I know I started smoking daily the spring of '81.

Start date: 03/17/1981 (Estimated, and would have been my father's 51st birthday if he hadn't of died a year & a half before.)

Quit date: 05/22/2001.

I smoked for:
20 Yrs 2 Mos 5 Days 22 Hrs 59 Mins 59 Secs.

I smoked 147,439 cigarettes. Give or take.

At an average length of 3.22 in (82 mm), all the cigarettes
I've smoked, if placed end to end, would reach:

12.09 total kilometers or 7.51 total miles.

So I walked more than a mile for my Camels ...

But the most important numbers of the day for me - I've quit smoking for:

7 Months 6 Days 12 Hours 9 Minutes 51 Seconds

By quitting I've smoked 4410 fewer cigarettes,

saved $639.47 and

possibly regained 1 Mo 15 Hrs 1 Min 22 Secs of my life back!

Recommend (0 recommendations so far) Delete Message 3 of 8 in Discussion
From: SweetLorraine (Silver) Sent: 12/29/2001 10:54 AM
Hi Joel - Figuring thrty years since the first relapse and figuring $1.00 per pack - less in the beginning but way more toward the end $9,855 wasted - but here's the good news I might well save three times that much if I live another thirty years as an non-smoker! Talk about incentive!

yqf Lorraine

Two months, two weeks, four days without a single puff

Recommend (0 recommendations so far) Delete Message 4 of 8 in Discussion
From: Gigi Sent: 12/29/2001 11:20 AM
The first time I tried to quit was at 21 yrs. old. That was 19 years ago.
Cigarettes Smoked over last 19 years: 152,570

Approximate cost:
7628.5 packs = 401.5 pack a year.
Cost 2.30 average
$17545 spent on cigarettes

Length of cigarettes smoked:
40,939.61 feet
13646.53666 yards
7.75 miles

Time wasted:
762850 minutes
12714 hours
529 days
17 months

But now I'm Free! One week, three days, 9 hours, 19 minutes and 25 seconds. 311 cigarettes not smoked, saving $70.12. Life saved: 1 day, 1 hour, 55 minutes.


July 25th, 2002, 12:16 am#3


My "One Puff" * in 1995, after 7 smoke-free years led to 51,100 more cigarettes.

*uneducated pre-Freedom act of an addict. Sam (19 days, 12 hours, 26 minutes of never taking another puff )


July 25th, 2002, 5:20 am#4

Hmmm, let's see. My first failed attempt to quit was when I was 23, began sometime around February (now there's some commitment) with relapse coming on hard and fast (beginning with staying up late to steal roommate cigs - because "if I'm not paying for them, I'm not smoking" - and driving around to smoke them at 4am - I'm sure no one was wise to my stealthy ways).

So that's 13 years and 4 months at let's say a pack a day average: 160 months x 30 packs x 20 death sticks = OH MY LORD!

96,000 cigarettes smoked since my relapse.

At an average cost per pack of $2.75, that's 14 cents per feeding, so I've wasted $13, 400 on my addiction since my relapse.

THIRTEEN THOUSAND & FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS! That's about what I spent on my first brand new car, a little Japanese compact, the same year I relapsed - I coulda had a mercedes.

Well, Joel, that was certainly a sobering exercise. Thank you!


July 25th, 2002, 9:38 am#5

Hi Joel:
I promised this morning I was gonna post here. I lost a 6 month quit 13 years ago, at a pack and a half a day.....But looking up, I see Alyson has done the math for me.....Mine is 1.5 times hers, or
150,000 cigarettes smoked
about $20,000 wasted, or even worse,
perverted to my (possible) distruction.
If I do wind up dying from this (I've nothing specific....I'm just being morbid), then
It would have been cheaper
to hire a hit man
to just kill me!
Dying from the extra 13 years of that relapse, of course, would be the true and ultimate cost of that last lost quit.
BillW Five months, two weeks, two days, 12 hours, 37 minutes and 59 seconds. 4995 cigarettes not smoked, saving $986.42. Life saved: 2 weeks, 3 days, 8 hours, 15 minutes.

October 3rd, 2002, 3:13 am#6

Good Afternoon Freedomites!

With so many new quitters and a slew of articles reinforcing the not one puff mantra of our fine Freedom, I thought it would be good to see exactly what that one puff could cost you. And that's if you're lucky enough to every find the motivation to try and quit again! Then again, there's always Bill W's theory. (YOUCH! Glad I quit!)

Sammy ( 2 Months 3 Weeks 6 Days 14 Hours 22 Minutes 5 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1791. Money saved: $381.69).

October 3rd, 2002, 3:20 am#7

Wow, I'd forgotten posting to the original thread, and then saw my post above, and was blown away by the nearly 2 grand it cost me to have that seemingly innocent little cigarette one night after having been off for 10 days. 2 grand. Holy cow!


April 30th, 2003, 11:34 pm#8

I thought the math was going to be tougher. I probably just didn't want to think about what I'd done to myself all those years.

My first actual attempt at quitting (I am not counting the ones before because simply saying "I'm quitting" and then lighting the next cigarette five minutes later doesn't count as even a feeble attempt) was on my 30th birthday, 12/7/1997. So that means that between that failure (I didn't last the day) and my big success on May 28, 2002, I smoked 32,640 cigarettes and wasted approximately $5,712.00 of my hard-earned money on my addiction. "Well, at least I tried," I said to myself many times.

Then I got educated...and now I'm free! I can see gold from here...


11 months, 1 day

May 1st, 2003, 1:31 am#9

This would have been roughly 7 years and 10 months ago when I tried to quit. The length of that quit is debatable because I certainly wasn't nicotine free since my roomie at the time would dispense 1 cigarette to me after work each day as a "reward". Other than that it was only about 3 days long though but it sure seemed at the time like it was forever.
That 1 per day ration led to 49,862 cigarettes up to my quit date and $6,274 just handed over to the tobacco companies.
Kicking Butt for 6 Months 3 Weeks 5 Days.
Last edited by smokefreeJD Gold on April 14th, 2009, 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

May 1st, 2003, 2:27 am#10

I began at 14, and first tried to quit when I went to bootcamp at 18. In bootcamp I could run like the wind and I thought I would live forever. I saw my grandfather smoking 3-4 packs a day. At age 66 he died of heart disease...I remember my family being grateful that it wasn't lung cancer. These statistics are horrific.
I continued to smoke for 23 years after my first attempted quit at 18 and was consuming a carton a week.
That would be 1196 cartons @ an average of 15.00 a carton = $17,940.00 since my first relapse.
1196 cartons = 239,200 cigarettes*
*(I cringe to realize these represent cigarettes I no longer wanted to ingest)
At 3.22 inches per cigarette, my 239200 represent
64,185.333 Feet
31,395.111 Yards
and 12.156 Miles
if I were to place those end to end.
The good news is that after years of nicotine addiction and continuing unwanted smoking.....after many relapses and the rollercoaster weight issues of on again/off again smoking...........Thanks to Freedom
I have been quit for 11 Months, 1 Week, 2 hours, 25 minutes and 58 seconds (342 days).
I have saved $1,539.45 by not smoking 10,263 cigarettes.
I have saved 1 Month, 4 Days, 15 hours and 15 minutes of my life.
I don't have to smoke anymore.....neither do YOU!!!
Never Take Another Puff
Dos (Dubs aka Dubiously)
Last edited by DubiouslyDos on April 14th, 2009, 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

May 1st, 2003, 6:14 am#11

WOW, what a thought provoking thread this has turned out to be for me! When I read my OWN quote in the "one puff files", I immediately thought of myself as the Queen of Relapse.
My first CT quit was 2-14-75 for SEVEN years but junkie thinking got me back on them for 5 years. On Great American Smokeout Day in 1987, I did the CT thing yet again. This time it lasted for TWELVE years. I never dreamt I was susceptible to the nicodemon at that juncture. Yup, you guessed it...I played the old "party smoker" game in 1998 and found myself hooked all over again.
Today, I calculated the cost of losing those 2 quits, for 5 years each time. Since I quickly got back to my 45cigs/day habit, my usage was 82,125 cigs during each smoking period, for a total of 164,250 smokes at a cost of $27,512. So, not only did I blow an awesome amount of $$, I blew what could have been a 28-year quit. And I finally know why...I am a nicotine addict, and I can never take another puff. Only time will tell if I've managed to avoid health issues, but at least my third quit is my last due to the suppoprt and education here at Freedom!
Your very grateful quit sis, JD
Judy has been nic free for: 3 Months 1 Week 6 Days 15 Hours 1 Minute and has NOT smoked 4753 smelly cigs, for a grand $$$ savings of $796.15 plus life of Freedom extended by: 2 Weeks 2 Days 12 Hours 5 Minutes.

December 4th, 2003, 1:13 am#12

I saw where we have another similar exercise going on today. The costs of a relapse as is the cost for ever taking up cigarettes are phenomenal. The worst part is how it ends up costing people their lives if they don't give themselves the opportunity to prove that they could have quit by simply sticking with a commitment to never take another puff! Joel

December 7th, 2003, 9:04 am#13

I have multiple quits, one of which lasted almost 3 years (which was not my first) and because it was the longest and (I thought) at the time my last quit, I will calculate from there.

I started back smoking on May 25, 1999 and had 3 brief quits in between that and my final quit (each lasting 3-6 weeks, but I will NOT factor out those periods because it makes the computations easier). I quit on November 7, 2003. That is 18 days shy of 4 1/2 years or app 1625 days. I will figure my "final average" of 18 to be my average through this entire period because there were periods where I smoked none and periods where I smoked more than 18 so it should even out. That works out to 29,250! That is 1,462.5 packs! At an average of $2.25 per pack (when I started back I was smoking name brands and have steadily "stepped down the price ladder") that is $3,290.63 spent in just the last 4 1/2 years! At an average of 7 minutes to smoke each one, I wasted 3,412.5 hours of my life or 142 days (almost 5 months!).

How sobering this little exercise was! To recap:
time smoked: 4 1/2 years
cigs smoked 29,250
money spent: $3,290.63
time wasted: 142 days

yqb, David Four weeks, one day, 11 hours, 6 minutes and 29 seconds. 530 cigarettes not smoked, saving $39.77. Life saved: 1 day, 20 hours, 10 minutes.

December 7th, 2003, 9:38 am#14

Wow, David ~ those calculations were just too much for me! Just re-read the first post in this thread to be sure I get it right.

I'm just gonna give you guys the dates and let someone else do the math for me . . . . . . I'm afraid if I saw the figures pop up myself it would just be too much to bear!

My very first quit was November 1978 (25 years ago). I lost that quit sometime in 1981. Joel said not to deduct for any interim quits since they never would have happened had we not lost the first quit. For the ease of the mathemeticians we'll just say it was December of '81 ~ when you're talking 22 years what's a month or two?? Pack a day. Cost/Pack???? Can't even remember how much they cost back then. I lived in VA so I think the tax was lower than most places.

So ~ 22 years/pack a day/$$?? Anyone for doing the math for me??

Candi ~ I have been quit for 1 Month, 1 Week, 6 Days, 21 hours and 58 minutes (44 days). I have saved $163.48 by not smoking 1,257 cigarettes. I have added 6 Days, 2 hours and 39 minutes to my life.

December 7th, 2003, 10:00 am#15

Hi all,

I blew a six week quit in Dec. 1998. That was my first and longest quit. I've had interim quits, but we're not supposed to add them in. So, here goes my stats.

time smoked: 5 years
cigs smoked 36,400 or 1,820 packs
money spent: 5,460

Not to mention smoking through two pregnancies that I "cut" back my intake (in other words, constant withdrawal) for because I wasn't strong enough to never take another puff. Thank heavens I found this site.

KTQ 14days

December 8th, 2003, 8:34 am#16

Well, no one took me up on doin' the math for me . . . . . curiosity got the better of me so I did it myself.

22 Years X 52 weeks/yr = 1144 weeks

1 carton/week = 1144 Cartons = 228,800 cigarettes

$20,000+ spent

1,601,600 minutes; 26,693 hours; 1,112 days; 158 weeks; 36.7 months; 3 years wasted smoking cigs.

I am grateful that during those 22 years since I lost my first quit I did put together around 10 years smoke free, so it's not as bad as it looks!! Just would have saved myself lots of grief, shame, deceit, wrinkles, and health concerns had I never smoked after my first quit 25 years ago.

Grateful that I have been quit for 1 Month, 2 Weeks, 20 hours and 53 minutes (45 days). I have saved $166.96 by not smoking 1,284 cigarettes. I have added 6 Days, 5 hours and 48 minutes to my life.

December 8th, 2003, 2:03 pm#17

My name is Scott, due to my relapse in 1996 I smoked for 6 long years & 11 months, 21 days, 11 hours, 52 minutes and 44 seconds (2548 days).

I smoked 101,940 death sticks after quitting for one whole year. And spent $5,670.12.
I lost 353 days, 22 hours and 58 minutes of my life just from a 7 year relapse...... I wonder how much of my life I lost for the total 25 years I smoked? It is so sickening, i'm not even going to tally. What an eye opener....................Scott, Free & Healing forever & ever amen..................Never another puff ever.........t.g.f.f.

April 1st, 2004, 10:15 pm#18

Today the cost of cigarettes in Cook County, where I live and spend most of my time went up 82 cents per pack due to a new county tax starting today. The thinking is most businesses will round the price increase up an even dollar. The average cost now is about $5.00 per pack, making Cook County one of the highest costs in the country.

Being that we have an international audience I thought I would pose the question we have posed a few times here at Freedom in the past. How much were you spending on tobacco when you quit and what are your neighbors who still smoke spending on them now? Anyone spending the time and doing the math will realize that considering the cost of cigarettes on your pocket book and more importantly, on your health and your life is higher than you are willing to pay. The only way to guarantee that you will never have to pay to support such an expensive, dirty and deadly addiction again is to stick with your personal commitment to never take another puff!


April 1st, 2004, 11:08 pm#19

I quit in Feburary 2003 for 4 days when my best friend called and told me that her father was dying from lung cancer. He died last August. I quit 24 days ago.

I live in Germany and roll my own cigarettes. I have averaged 25 a day at about a Euro a day for tobacco, filters, and papers($1.18). If I were to have smoked normal cigarettes I would have paid 3.94€ a day ($4.65).

That means losing my quit cost me: 345€ ($407.10)
If I smoked regular cigarettes it would have cost me: 1359.30€ ($1,604)

Jeesh. $407 would be enough for a nice trip to Italy. Definately next year!!!

Tera - Free and Healing for Twenty Four Days, 18 Hours and 6 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Days and 3 Hours, by avoiding the use of 619 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me 24,78 €.

April 1st, 2004, 11:57 pm#20

Hi Joel -

OK. I am up to this calculation now. I guess that it was 7 years prior to my final quit on 6/11/2002 that I had quit for 6 months. That one puff that I took almost 8 years ago cost me $9650.55ugh! and I smoked 64,337 sickorettes (give or take) yuch!

Thank God I found this great group of quitters! I am now very proud to say that I haven't taken a single puff in over 21 months, saved over $2600.00, and haven't smoked over 5,000 sickorettes. Yipppeee!


April 2nd, 2004, 12:03 am#21

Oooops! I meant to say over 13,000 sickorettes not smoked in the last 21+ months. WOW! Sure does add up!


April 2nd, 2004, 12:17 am#22

Freedom's really making me work today! Bill's got us writing lymericks; Joel's got us doing math! See you all in gym class later!

So my first and longest quit was 8 months. I think it was 1984. I'm going to guestimate and pop mid-year 1984 into my quit meter. It is supposed to add 3% annually to adjust for price hikes. Drum roll, please... it calculates to about 19.5 years I would have been quit. I wouldn't have smoked over 100,000 cigarettes (yikes! that means I did!!!!), and would have saved around $30,000. That's Canadian dollars, but yowsers, I could have used that.

All righty. I still don't want to smoke any more. Never Take Another Puff. Nope. Thanks Joel. Eye opening as always!

~ Kay ~
100 Days! Woohoo!

July 18th, 2004, 5:36 am#23

Well, I had quit when I was pregnant for my son for about 4 months. If I hadn't of relapsed my stats would say:

I have chosen not to smoke for 3 Years 4 Weeks 1 Day 9 Hours 2 Minutes. Cigarettes not smoked: 11253. Money saved: C$4,642.18.

What they really say is:

Angie- 6 Months 3 Days 23 Hours 31 Minutes 15 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1487. Money saved: C$595.14.

That's a difference of 9766 cigarettes, and 4047.04. Woah.

July 18th, 2004, 6:33 am#24

By the age of 27 I was smoking and chewing (among other things). I quit both for a period of six months. I am now 36yrs old and have chewed an average of one can of tobacco per day since.
36yrs - 27yrs = 9yrs
9yrs x 365days per year = 3,285
3,285 X $5.00 per can average = $16,425 wasted on nicotine.
If I add only the cost of the chewing for the other 8yrs (not the smoking) at an average of 3.00 per can the estimated grand total that my addiction has cost me is....
$25,185 and that estimate is very conservative. WOW I NEVER KNEW.
Do you think I could get the tobacco companies to give me a refund??
This information is definately something I am going to chew on for a while. It is a great weapon for me to use in the exercise of never taking another dose of nicotine. Thanks Joel and everyone who participates in Freedom and Whyquit.

Still Nic-Free and Luv'n it for 4 Weeks, 1 Day, 20 hours and 17 minutes. I quit chewing tobacco on 6/17/04, have saved $149.22 while expecting to be on earth 2 Days, 1 hour and 40 minutes longer

September 13th, 2004, 8:07 pm#25


I smoked since i was 12 and a bit. First time I tried to quit, I was 17. I'm now 28.

so 11 years, aprox. a pack a day (conservative estimation) times 4 EUR.
thats (11*365)*4 = 16060 EURO

and in reality it's probably more...

that's one expensive borrowed sigarette :o