"At 50 years old, would i be better investing that 6000 for the next 15 years, or just hope i die before my lungs give in?"
From the perspective of someone who watched his father, a life long smoker, die slowly and agonizingly, put the money into a retirement plan and hope you're not already a dead man walking. Besides, 6000 should still buy a fair number of pints
to help with the withdrawal. ;0)