Wealth goes up in smoke

Who wants to be a millionaire? 

Certainly, not men who drink and smoke.

Sure it’s obvious that it costs money to buy booze and smokes. And it doesn't take a detective to figure out those who save their cash instead would have more money in their bank accounts.

However, the financial cost of being out of shape and prone to drunkenness may surprise you.

A new report commissioned by the Canadian Men's Health Foundation found a very unhealthy guy could stand to lose $8.6 million over his lifetime.

"This is eye-opening news for guys, who might not consider the true costs of their bad habits,” said foundation president said Wayne Hartrick. 

The report looks at the financial burden, including the cost to the Canadian economy. 

It estimates the out of pocket costs of purchasing cigarettes and alcohol and the additional life insurance premiums that are charged to individuals with any one of the three risk factors. It also considers lost investment opportunities. 

The costs change significantly depending on the level of consumption or excess weight. Three hypothetical situation were pondered to highlight the costs:

  • Low-Risk Joe, who smokes five cigarettes per day, consumes one alcoholic drink per day and is six feet tall weighing 258 pounds could save $275,000 over his lifetime. If Joe took this money and, instead of spending it on cigarettes or alcohol or additional life insurance premiums, invested it between the ages of 30 and 75, the cost increases to $1.7 million.
  • Medium-Risk Joe, who smokes 20 cigarettes per day, consumes three alcoholic drinks per day and is six feet tall weighing 295 pounds could save $628,000 over his lifetime. Invested, costs go up to $3.2 million.
  • High-Risk Joe, who smokes 40 cigarettes per day, consumes five alcoholic drinks per day and is six feet tall weighing 332 pounds could save $1.1 million over his lifetime. Invested, costs go up to $8.6 million.

Meanwhile, the province of B.C. announced $2 million in funding Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation to help support the foundation's "Don’t Change Much" campaign. The hospitals will also support the "You Check" men's health awareness program.

The health consequences associated with tobacco smoking, alcohol use and excess weight in middle-aged men cost the Canadian economy $20.3 billion annually in treatment costs, disability and premature mortality.

The full report conducted by H. Krueger & Associates Inc. is available at menshealthfoundation.ca.


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