Several studies have found a relationship between low socioeconomic status and smoking. But Zagorsky has found something a bit different: smoking may actually lead to lower wealth.

While it is impossible to prove that statement without doing randomized studies and forcing some people to smoke and preventing others from smoking against their will, the data clearly indicates to me that the causality runs from smoking to wealth and not the other way around, he says.

In a recent US study of baby boomers, Zagorsky researched the relationship between smoking and wealth. The research was based on information from almost 9,000 people over a period of 15 years.

Zagorsky s analysis shows that those who have never smoked have a much higher net worth than those who have smoked. Among those who smoke, light smokers fare financially better than heavy smokers. On average the net worth of those who never smoked is roughly 50% higher than individuals who are light smokers and more than twice the level of heavy smokers.

In other words, smokers have a lower financial net worth than nonsmokers nonsmokers are wealthier than smokers.