Most of us know someone with a credit card and someone who smokes. If you aren’t a smoker yourself, you may look at those people in disgust, point a finger and make some rude noise; like coughing extremely loud when you walk through a cigarette smoke cloud. It is less common to find someone who doesn’t have a credit card, and the commonalities between the two may seem like a stretch, but there are more than you think.

1) Both are known to cause heart failure: I heard a story once where a guy opened his credit card bill after his ex-wife went on a shopping spree and DIED. Ok, this was made up, but you get my point. And do I really need to add anything here about cigarettes?

2) They are made from the same chemicals: I just wanted to say that because it is true. But really it would be much better to roll your tobacco in a dollar bill than to smoke cigarettes, especially if you buy them with a credit card. It would be much cheaper and at least you would know where the money went.

3) They both fit conveniently in your pocket: Who ever thought of this was a genius or just messed up. Let’s make the two unhealthiest items in our culture mobile. *Shakes head*

4) Burn a hole in your pocket: It seems that once we actually have a credit card we feel like we have to use it. If you put a lit cigarette in your pocket, it would literally burn a hole. The simple fix to both of these questions is to not put them in your pocket in the first place.

5) You don’t really talk about either: No one really talks about how much debt they have nor do people talk about how much they actually smoke. In either case it would be a great idea to start this conversation. There is HELP, but you have to ask for it. The first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem.

6) Easier to get at bigger chains: The bigger the institution, the easier it is to get a credit card. The same goes for cigarettes. The cashier selling you the item doesn’t care how it affects your health or your life. Imagine if the person was allowed to have a conscious and could say, “Sir/Ma’am, I see you are in debt or have a tumor and I don’t think this the best option for you.”

7) They are learned habits: No one is born a smoker or a credit card abuser. They are typically introduced to the bad behaviors from parents, close relatives, or friends.

 8) Both are addicting: Once you start the habit, it is hard to stop. Credit card issues are much more difficult to stop. Try going cold turkey with a credit card company and you end up in jail. Go cold turkey with cigarettes and you have a huge headache for a few days. I prefer the headache over spending time in a jail cell.

9) Thrown out without much thought: People typically use their credit card as their primary source of money without thinking if they have the funds to back up the money they are spending. Likewise, people who smoke just throw out their butts without thinking. I mean honestly how do you take something that is already in your hand an intentionally throw it on the ground when the trash can is RIGHT THERE? I don’t get it.

10) There are warnings before use: Every time you swipe your credit card the little screen states “Do you want to purchase this with your credit card?” The answer should be no, but we do it anyway. And cigarettes have that really fun fact on every pack about how you will die or you will kill someone else, but that doesn’t stop people.

What amazes me the most about cigarettes and credit cards is that the information on not starting to use them is everywhere. You can’t listen to five songs on the radio without hearing a debt relief commercial or a stop smoking campaign, yet as a society we keep pumping money into both of these horrible systems.

These are only ten ways of how cigarettes and credit cards are similar and I would love to hear other ways you might see.

Tim is a writes about personal finance and small business start-up. He is also a marketer for If you enjoyed this article and want to see more follow him on Twitter @TimlCooley.

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