Give up smoking

2 March 2009

If you didn’t manage to kick the habit in January, then 11 March presents another opportunity to quit smoking and give your finances a boost at the same time.

No Smoking Day falls on 11 March this year, and ditching cigarettes on this day is nearly as good for your bank balance as it is for your health.

For one, you will start to save money immediately. A 20-a-day smoker will save around £45 a week, nearly £200 a month and £2,400 a year by quitting now.

If you put that money into a regular savings account, such as First Direct's 7% AER ISA, then your initial £200 deposit will grow to £2,707 after 12 months - £107 of which is interest growth.

After two years, you will see your money grow by a total of £396.13 completely tax-free, with your balance hitting the £5,396.13 mark.


Alternatively, you could use the money to pay off debt. If you only make the 2% minimum monthly repayment on a credit card with an APR of 18%, then it would take you an astonishing 31 years to pay off a balance of £2,000. During that time you will have paid a whopping £4,931.11 in interest.

However, by using the £200 you’ve saved by quitting smoking to repay your debt, you can pay off the same balance in just 11 months. The total interest you will have paid will also fall to £183.25.

There is another money-saving benefit to kicking cigarettes - after 12 months without smoking life insurance and critical illness providers will start to class you as a non-smoker, and your insurance premiums could reduce by up to 50%.


Research from shows that non-smokers could save considerably on a combined critical illness cover and life insurance policy. A 30-year old male wanting £150,000 worth of cover over 25 years could save £8,404 over the term by going smoke-free, while a woman could save £4,800.

Those looking for single life cover could also benefit. Men could see their premiums fall by £1,725 for £150,000 worth of cover over 25 years if they stop smoking while women could save £4,650.

Emma Walker, head of protection at, says: "In today's climate where every penny counts, it's clear to see there are both financial and medical benefits to stubbing out cigarettes for good. There are real savings to be made by kicking the habit and shopping around for the best insurance deal to suit your circumstances."

Although you aren't guaranteed to pay less for insurance if you quit smoking - as premiums are also based on your age and health - Matt Morris, spokesman for broker Lifesearch, says non-smokers stand a good chance of seeing their premiums fall.

However, he adds: “It is important to make sure you have a new policy in place before cancelling your existing one, as your new policy could turn up some nasty surprises in underwriting and may even be declined if your health has changed."


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