Man charged a hefty price for his cigarette addiction: $23 quadrillion

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In case you didn't notice, cigarette smoking can be hazardous to your health. But you may not have known that it can be extremely hard on your wallet as well. For example, a New Hampshire man recently received a bill for an amount roughly 2,000 times the U.S. national debt -- just for buying a pack of cigarettes.

In Manchester, New Hampshire Josh Muszynski paid for a pack of cigarettes at a gasoline station with his Bank of America (BAC) debit card and was charged a $15 fee plus $23,148,855,308,184,500.

To put the $23 quadrillion price of these smokes into perspective, the U.S. national debt is currently hovering at $11,575,840,509,643. While I have not met Mr. Muszynski, I would be surprised if he has enough money to pay back 2,000 times the U.S. national debt. To the best of my knowledge, nobody does.

Thanks to his conversations with Visa (V) -- since Bank of America would not talk with him -- Muszynski's cigarette charges were reduced to a more manageable number. There is no word, however, on whether or not Muszynski decided that his cigarette habit is too costly.

Peter Cohan is president ofPeter S. Cohan & Associates. He also teaches management at Babson College. His eighth book isYou Can't Order Change: Lessons from Jim McNerney's Turnaround at Boeing. He has no financial interest in the securities mentioned.

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