Mar 08

Smokers: stop smoking and save £3,000 a year!

Reading Time: 6 mins

You have to stop smoking if you’re going to have enough cash each year to buy yourself a nice secondhand car. That’s how much you could be saving!

A pack of cigarettes now costs an average of £7.46.  So,  if you need to save some cash (don’t we all) then what better time to kick the habit?

After all, did you know…

  • 454,700 NHS hospital admissions are attributable to smoking
  • Cigarettes are the single most traded item on the planet with 1trillion being sold from country to country each year
  • There are 7,000 toxic chemicals in cigarettes


  • 60% of smokers find it hard to last a whole day without smoking

We know it’s not an easy thing to do – yes, some of the Moneymagpies are smokers too. You have to choose for yourself whether or not you want to, or think you can, quit. We’re going to give you a nudge in the right direction though because there are absolutely loads of incentives to quit smoking.

So here are the reasons why should you quit smoking (as if you didn’t know already!) plus how you can do it easily and cheaply!


stop smoking for Your health

It’s an obvious one, but just think of all the things that will improve if you quit…

  • Your skin will look healthier and younger after just a few months. As a non-smoker you will also get fewer wrinkles as time goes on.
  • You’ll be able to go for a run without coughing and spluttering all over the place, and having to stop every 100 meters. Did anyone say FIT, as well as healthy?
  • You will look a whole lot more attractive once your body’s repaired itself. Gone will be the yellow stained teeth and the lifeless, brittle hair – not to mention the smell.

If that isn’t enough, check out these stats from the NHS:

  • Within 8 hours the carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your blood will have returned to normal.
  • Within 48 hours your body will have completely rid itself of nicotine.
  • Within two weeks your circulation will improve.
  • After three months your lung function will have increased by as much as 10%, meaning any coughs and breathing problems will improve dramatically.
  • After 1 year the excess risk of coronary heart disease will have reduced to half that of a smoker.
  • After 5 years the lung cancer death rate is similar to that of a non-smoker.
  • After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker and your risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.


stop smoking forYour wallet – save thousands

If the many health benefits of a smoke-free life aren’t enough to entice you to quit, the increase in the weight of your wallet could well be.

A packet of 20 cigarettes costs around £7.46 at the moment. Working on that basis, (we’ve rounded up to the nearest pound) have a look below to see just how much money you could be saving and what else you could spend it on.

Giving up five cigarettes a day saves:

  • £15 a week – 2 for 1 cinema tickets with Orange Wednesdays, plus change left over for popcorn!
  • £60 a month – an delectable dinner for two including starter, main, dessert and wine at any of Jamie’s restaurants
  • £720 a year – choose an incredible holiday for two with the luxury travel website Voyage Prive.
  • £7,200 a decade – good condition used BMW 5 series

Cutting out 10 cigarettes a day saves:

  • £28 a week – Luxury cosmetics from Benefit.
  • £112 a month –  22 bottles of wine/35 pints of beer
  • £1,344 a year -A MacBook Air, and the iPhone 4
  • £13,440 a decade – Completely redecorate your home

    Giving up 20 cigarettes a day saves:

  • £56 a week – two tickets to Singin’ in the Rain and dinner out, courtesy of
  • £224 a month – Two return tickets to Paris on the Eurostar and £86 spending money
  • £2,688 a year – Two round-the-world tickets
  • £23,520 a decade – Deposit for your first home!


stop smoking for Insurance

Apart from the obvious financial benefits of not having to buy cigarettes, giving up can also save you a small fortune on your insurance premiums.

Smoking makes you more of a risk as far as insurers are concerned since you are more likely to claim. As well as reducing the number of life insurance options open to you, it can increase your premiums by as much as 78% according to our friends at

Using their example, the average premium for a healthy 35 year old man who has £100,000 cover for 20 years is £8.85 per month. If this man was classed as a smoker though, the premiums would rise to £15.75 – that’s an extra £1,656 over the term of the policy!

Remember that smoking might also increase your home and car insurance premiums as well.

However, it’s good to know that most insurance companies will officially reinstate you with non-smoker status 12 months after you quit.

We’ve shown you it’s worth it, so make sure that you get a new life insurance deal once you can be classified as a non-smoker. Check out the best on offer with our comparison service.

Hidden costs

A study into the costs of smoking by the NHS has shown that smokers can spend as much as £676 a year before they’ve even bought their cigarettes.

This goes on costs like maintaining the same personal hygiene as a non-smoker, by buying things like smokers toothpaste, cough sweets and breath fresheners  which can set you back nearly £200 per year, while the cleaning, repairing and replacing of clothes comes to £213.


stop smoking for Your social life

Giving up can do wonders for your social life, not least because you’ll have loads more time.

According to the NHS, the average time spent smoking a cigarette is about 10 minutes. This means a ten-a-day smoker could save almost two hours a day, and a whole month over the course of a year, by giving up. Imagine what you could do with all that free time…

Being able to quit should give you a huge confidence boost – if you manage to give up you can be immensely proud of your achievement and hopefully you’ll have more self-esteem to go out and do all the things you’ve always wanted to.

Also, if you’re looking for that special someone, you’re more likely to get a date after you quit. According to NHS research, non-smokers are more attractive to the opposite sex than smokers.

You can also stop feeling guilty about putting your friends and family in danger because of passive smoking – and in turn they’ll be so grateful to you.


Quitting is free!

The first few weeks of quitting are the hardest, so you’ll need determination and will power. You’ll also need some help and the NHS can provide it.

Your first stop should be the NHS Free Smoking Helpline: 0800 022 4332 – open seven days a week from 7am until 11pm.

The NHS smokefree website is also well worth a look. There are words of encouragement as well as loads of free resources and information.

Also, check out the No Smoking Day website for some really useful tips to help you quit.

You can choose to go to free sessions and discuss things with others, but if you’d prefer to go it alone, support is available at home with the ‘Together Programme’ – find out what’s best for you here.


Nigel’s story

MoneyMagpie spoke to 45 year-old Nigel Manton who gave up smoking two years ago. Nigel had been smoking from the age of 13. He smoked on average twenty a day and sometimes as many as forty.

Nigel said that a combination of factors convinced him to quit: he began to wake up feeling very wheezy, his partner was a non-smoker and wasn’t keen on his habit and he really wanted to do a trek in Nepal and realised that if he continued to smoke he just wasn’t going to be able to.

Nigel said that he really needed reasons to want to quit – he thinks if you plan to give up you’re much more likely to succeed than if you make an impulse decision.

He also points out that there are no prizes for giving up the hard way, and having help from the NHS makes it so much easier than trying to use will power alone.

Nigel used the NHS helpline (above) and was put in contact with a local council support group – details of these can be found on the NHS smokefree website.

He told us that it was not unlike an AA meeting, and that the support was invaluable. Nigel received help planning his course of action. He explained that the members had help choosing the right kind of nicotine replacement aids – the NHS say that using these double your chances of being able to quit successfully.

If you attend all the meetings – Nigel had one a week for six weeks – then you receive a form entitling you to the nicotine replacement aids for free. So you really can give up for nothing!

Nigel told us that his main incentive to persevere was the carbon monoxide test that each member had to blow into, in front of everyone else at the start of each meeting. It was the thought of doing this that kept him going to begin with.

It took Nigel six weeks to quit – he said that at that point his cravings were completely gone and all his friends kept telling him how much healthier he looked.

He told us that quitting was easier than he thought it would be, and advises those who are trying to kick the habit to make the most of the services the NHS provide – you might as well make it as easy for yourself as you can.

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