Smokers Wage Gap Costs Young Smokers Up to $10,000 Per Year

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truth® Shows Why Tobacco Use Can Leave you #SQUADLESS

Research shows that smokers earn 20 percent2 less than non-smokers, and young adult smokers miss out on up to $10,000 each year1. Teens know smoking is bad for their own health and those around them, but most don’t know that it also hurts their wallet.  truth, the award winning youth tobacco prevention campaign, is using this surprising, yet important fact to empower smokers and nonsmokers alike to be the generation to end tobacco use for good.

According to a survey from Truth Initiative, 88 percent of young adults aged 15-25 years did not know smokers earn 20 percent less than non-smokers. In its latest campaign, truth shines a spotlight on the “smokers wage gap” with the debut of two new videos. The first, #SQUADLESS, shows how smoking = less financial stability = less cash to spend on fun times with your friends or “squad,” – leaving you #SQUADLESS. It features Vine star George Janko and YouTube star Macy Kate.

Watch the #SQUADLESS video.

According to The Futures Company’s 2016 TRU Youth MONITOR, the three biggest complaints about teens’ daily lives are school (35 percent), followed by not having enough money (31 percent), and not having enough time (27 percent). Additionally, teens are concerned about the financial stability of their future. In a survey conducted by Northeastern University, 67 percent of the respondents, who were between the ages of 16 and 19, said that they were concerned about “being able to afford college.”

The second video, #FinishIT – Smoking Gap, states “Don’t let Big Tobacco’s Products Control Your Paycheck.” By highlighting the disparity in earning potential between smokers and non-smokers, an inequity that teens can control, truth is giving this generation yet another reason to end smoking for good.

“Teens are deeply concerned with preparing for their futures and while they know tobacco is expensive, they often don’t realize just how much it’s costing them now and in the future,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative, the national public health organization that directs and funds the truth campaign.

One in three youth smokers will eventually die from tobacco-related diseases. With almost 82 percent of adult smokers starting smoking by the age of 18, it’s important to find new ways to engage in conversations about this deadly topic. Smoking affects just about everything this generation cares about: relationshipsanimal welfare and even how much money they make.

#SQUADLESS and #FinishIT – Smoking Gap are the latest extension of the truth Finish It campaign and aims to empower smokers and nonsmokers alike to make this the generation that ends tobacco use for good. Teen cigarette smoking rates are down to a historic low of 7 percent, compared to 23 percent in 2000. truth remains committed to providing this generation with the facts and inspiration they need to #FinishIT once and for all.

To learn more, visit or follow @truthorange on Twitter.

Media Contact
Sarah Shank


1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers Second Quarter 2016. 2016;
2. Hotchkiss JL, Pitts MM. Even one is too much: the economic consequences of being a smoker. 2013.