The $2 million habit

What would you do with $2 million?

That’s not the beginning of a lottery advertisement. It’s what a Minnesotan will save, over the course of a lifetime, by not smoking, according to an analysis by the website WalletHub.

The exact figure WalletHub came up with for Minnesota is $2,117,058. That is, of course, much more than the cost of the smokes itself ($166,418). It also includes what the website determined for financial-opportunity costs, health-care costs, income loss and other costs. The total cost of smoking per year in Minnesota: $41,511.

Ranked among all 50 states plus the District of Columbia from least expensive to most expensive for smokers, Minnesota is 44th, WalletHub finds. Wisconsin ranks 36th, with a lifetime cost of $1,766,622, or $34,640 per year. Least expensive for smokers is North Carolina, a mere $1,228,493. Most expensive is New York, where it will run you $2,458,044 over your lifetime.

St. Luke’s, Y partner up

St. Luke’s and the Duluth Area Family YMCA inaugurated a new partnership last week, the health system announced.

Key elements: St. Luke’s has a new physical therapy location in the Y’s downtown branch, 302 W. First St. It’s also sponsoring the downtown Y’s drop-in care center, now known as St. Luke’s Kids Club.

Among physical therapy services offered are orthopedic injury rehabilitation, running evaluation and sports physical therapy. The St. Luke’s facility at the Y includes a private room, but physical therapists and their patients also will have access to all facilities and equipment at the Y, including the pool, during appointments. Free parking is offered to patients at the Holiday Inn ramp. Physical therapy patients do not need to be Y members to be seen at the Y.

The YMCA has partnerships with both Twin Ports hospitals, with Essentia Health getting naming rights for the Essentia Health Wellness Center at Hermantown, which includes a Y.

Dental health, kids and posters

The Oral Health Task Force for Cook County and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is commissioning young artists to produce works on a subject that’s dear to the task force’s heart.

The poster contest, for children in kindergarten through grade 8, seeks submissions on the fundamentals of good oral health, including “brushing, flossing, good nutrition, check-ups at the dentist and fluoride treatments,” says a news release from the task force. Posters are due on Feb. 7, in what happens to be National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Three winners will be named with one per age category, and each will receive an “oral health prize package,” including a $25 gift card to the Cook County Whole Foods Co-op and an electric toothbrush.

Email your submission to or bring it to the Oral Health Task Force/North Shore Health Care Foundation Office, Suite 109 in the lower level of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, 513 Fifth Ave. W., Grand Marais.


  • An open house for the Essentia Health-Deer River Pharmacy will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 28 at the pharmacy, 2 Division St. It’s located in the former Ott Drug and managed by its longtime owner, Robert Ott.

  • Counseling is offered for Medicare beneficiaries and pre-retirees by the Senior LinkAge Line through the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission’s Area on Agency on Feb. 6 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 4831 Grand Ave., and on Feb. 12 and 26 at ARDC, 221 W. First St. Sessions are by appointment only. Call Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433.