The tobacco industry spends billions to make tobacco cheaper — but quitting is free

The tobacco industry spends more than $7.5 billion a year on making tobacco more affordable to encourage people to buy its deadly products.1 Offering discounts and promotions makes cigarettes more appealing to people with low incomes. But the real way to save money is to quit. People who quit tobacco save thousands of dollars each year, and getting help to quit is free. That leaves more money in your pocket to pay for the things you and your family need, like rent or a house payment, food, and prescription medications.

The QuitLine makes quitting free

Quitting can be hard, but people who get help are seven times more likely to succeed than if they try to do it alone.

Besides saving money, there are other benefits to leaving tobacco behind. Quitting smoking improves your overall health and can make it easier to manage other health issues. It also reduces the risk of premature death and can add as much as a decade to your life.

The Colorado QuitLine provides help for free. In addition to free coaching, people enrolled in Medicaid can get free quit medication to make their quit easier.

Tobacco Carries a High Price

People living below the poverty line tend to use tobacco more than people above the poverty line. That’s because the tobacco industry makes sure cigarettes stay on the grocery list, no matter what.

In order to get people to keep buying cigarettes, chewing tobacco and vaping devices, the tobacco industry spends billions of dollars on advertising in stores and offering promotions or discounts. Since the 1950s, the tobacco industry has included coupons for cigarettes with food stamps.2 They’ve even provided cigarettes for free to children in housing projects.

People with low incomes are just one group that the tobacco industry targets with advertising and promotions. Similar tactics are used in African American, Hispanic and LGBTQ+ communities.

Those who buy tobacco typically spend thousands of dollars each year on those products. They also pay the price of tobacco in higher rates of diseases like cancer, heart disease and COPD and have higher rates of premature death.

Preventing Exposure at Home

People who never smoke are still harmed by tobacco. Secondhand smoke can cause health issues and make others worse. Lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma are just a few of the negative effects of being exposed to tobacco smoke. People who live in multifamily housing like apartments are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke than others. That’s because smoke from tobacco products can seep in from neighboring units. More than half of people who live in multifamily housing say they’re exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

Pregnancy Carries Special Risks

Tobacco carries health risks for all of its users. But people who are pregnant or might become pregnant face unique health risks. People who smoke have more difficulty becoming pregnant and have a higher risk of never becoming pregnant. They also have a higher risk of miscarriage.3

Babies whose parents use tobacco during pregnancy are also more likely to have health problems like lung or brain damage, low birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Where to Get Extra Help

People who get help quitting are far more likely to quit tobacco than those who don’t. And a lot of that help is free. Below is a list of organizations and agencies that provide extra help for medical care or quit support.