Giving Up Smoking
GUEST ARTICLE: by Ella Moss
If you smoke, you're going to be well aware of the health benefits of quitting, but are you fully aware of the difference that giving up smoking can make to your finances?
Don't underestimate the financial benefit of giving up cigarettes; quitting smoking will save you money, and lots of it!
If you're struggling to find the motivation to stop, then looking at the amount of money you could save should really help.
If you needed any more convincing just look at the science - recent research has shown that your chance of successfully changing a health-related behaviourincreases by 50% if there's a financial reward at the end of it.
Apply this logic to smoking and simply putting a price on quitting should help you quit for good.
The good news is that you don't have to go through it alone; there are plenty of places you can go for free support, and the products that make it easier to stop smoking aren't expensive either.
How much will you save on cigarettes
The average cost of a 20 pack of cigarettes is currently £7.98, according to the charity Action on Smoking and Health.
This means smoking 20 cigarettes a day costs you around £2,900 a year!
If you think that's expensive it's only set to rise further with increased duty on tobacco.
The British Heart Foundation website has a useful tool that lets you calculate how much money you could save if you quit smoking. Just enter the number of cigarettes you smoke to see how much better off you would be each week, month and year.
Put a price on your habit then think about what else you could spend this extra money on. Then when you're tempted to reach for a cigarette, just focus on this instead and hopefully it'll help you resist.
Other ways you'll save by quitting
Aside from the actual savings you'll make by not buying cigarettes, stopping smoking will save you money in other ways too.
When you don't smoke life insurance is cheaper; your premiums could drop by as much as 50% once you have been smoke free for 12 months, for exactly the same amount of cover.
Once you're officially a non-smoke everything from your private healthcare insurance to income protection cover and even your home and car insurance could be much cheaper - all because you'll be treated as a lower risk.
When you successfully quit, let your insurance providers know this to start enjoying the benefits of reduced premiums. When you'll be classed as a non-smoker will differ from insurer to insurer (it could be right away, it could be 3 years smoke-free) but the sooner you tell them, the sooner you'll have the added incentive to stick with it.
Better health = less time off work
Once you quit smoking you should feel healthier and be less likely to take time off work. This will have a positive impact on your income, particularly if you are self-employed.
Quitting smoking before it causes you serious health problems that impact your earnings is another financial motivator to kick your habit.
What about the cost of quitting smoking?
If you're reluctant to try quitting over concerns that the products you'll need to help you quit smoking are pricey - especially if you aren't successful - this needn't be a worry.
Some quit smoking aids are available free of charge and for those that you pay for, it still works out a lot cheaper than paying for cigarettes each week.
We take a look at just how cheaply you can stop smoking.
Support for quitting smoking: Cost = Free
Help with quitting is available free from NHS Stop Smoking advisers.
Your GP can refer you for a one-to-one appointment or you can self-refer by phoning your local service directly. Besides helpful tips and support to help you with your quit attempt, these advisers can also help you get stop smoking medications and nicotine replacement therapy for a cheaper price.
If you're unable to get to a clinic near you, the NHS Stop Smoking App is available free via iTunes, which sends you daily motivational messages, as well as providing tips and access to a wealth of useful information.
Additional free advice is also available online from sites such as NHS Smokefree, Quit and ASH and you can pick up a free NHS Quit Kit from your local pharmacy or order one online from the NHS website - these have tools to further increase your chances of successfully quitting.
Nicotine replacement therapy: Cost: Up to £8.05/week
Some people find nicotine replacement therapy helps them deal with the physical symptoms of stopping smoking. It's available to buy directly from pharmacies, but you can save money by obtaining a prescription for these from your GP or smoking cessation adviser.
If you get free prescriptions you won't need to pay a penny for these products and even if you do pay for your prescriptions, with the current charge for prescriptions set at £8.05, paying this for a week's supply still works out around a third cheaper than buying direct from your local chemist.
Prescription medication: Cost: On a case by case basis
Zyban and Champix are prescription medications that can boost your chances of successfully kicking your smoking habit.
They're not suitable for everyone though and your doctor will decide whether you should try them as they do carry side-effects.
In a similar way to nicotine replacement therapy, both are available at no cost if you don't pay for your prescriptions, though you may otherwise need to pay for a course of this therapy.
Zyban is typically taken for 7 to 9 weeks and Champix for 12 weeks, though this is a small price to pay if you successfully quit.
E-cigarettes: Cost = £10-£18 per pack
Although they are not officially recommended as a stop smoking aid, many smokers do find E-cigarettes a helpful way to quit, and the good news is that they can be cost-effective.
Although you will pay anything from £10 to £90 for a starter pack, and then £10 to £18 for a pack of four refill cartridges, with each cartridge equal to 25 cigarettes, it's easy to see how the savings soon mount up compared to the real thing.
Complementary therapies: Cost = Free (depending on location)
Hypnosis, acupressure and hypnosis may sometimes be available free of charge through NHS Smoking Services, though depending on where you live you may need to pay for these alternative therapies.
Kick the habit!
Now that you can see how much money you can save by giving up cigarettes and how little it costs to access smoking cessation support, what are you waiting for?
Speak to your GP to find out more about the stop smoking aids that are most suitable for you and start you quit attempt ASAP.
Ella Moss is a financial writer for Money.co.uk. www.money.co.uk
her page: www.money.co.uk/members/profile.htm?id=789104
Article posted: September 22, 2014