How Much Does Smoking Cost You?
There’s no greater motivator than money! That rule certainly applies to smoking, as it’s one of the most expensive habits around. In fact, the average UK smoker spends more than £150 each month on lighting up.
With the cost of living rising, cigarettes are starting to look like an even worse way to spend money – and that’s before you start to unpack the health issues they can cause. At the time of writing, the average 20 pack of cigarettes costs just under £12 according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This means a smoker who gets through a pack each day will spend almost £4,400 every single year – or the equivalent of almost six months’ rent at the UK’s average rate.
Reasons to Stop Smoking
Around 70% of smokers say that they want to quit. That’s a huge percentage, but it’s easy to understand why when you realise how many good reasons there are to stop smoking for good. Here are just some of the top reasons why you should consider giving up tobacco:
It’s Bad for Your Health
It’s a well-known fact that smoking has disastrous health consequences. Cigarettes are packed with cancer-causing chemicals that can increase your risk of disease in the lungs, throat, mouth, kidney, colon, and bladder.
Fortunately, quitting smoking could help you to reclaim your health and improve your life. Your heart rate and blood pressure are likely to drop just twenty minutes after your last cigarette, while your lung function and blood circulation may improve within three months. After one year, your risk of heart disease will have been sliced in half.
These are great reasons to quit smoking. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be there!
It’s Bad for Your Wallet
As we’ve already outlined, smoking is super expensive! In fact, some smokers spend more than £100,000 on cigarettes throughout their (shortened) lifetime. If they’d only invested that money instead, they could be looking forward to a retirement full of health, wealth, and abundance. Even for a more casual smoker getting through two packs each week (£24 per week, or £1,248 per year), the numbers could quickly add up if invested in a professionally managed exchange-traded fund (ETF).
The S&P 500 has an average annual return of 10.5%, meaning that if our fictional smoker invested between the ages of 20 and 65 they could retire with over £1,000,000 in the bank!
The message is simple: stop smoking, save and invest money, and retire rich!
It’s Bad For Your Family
Second-hand smoke is a killer, which means that you could be putting your family at risk just by lighting up. Even though they might not smoke themselves, they’ll still be inhaling contaminated air from your cigarette – increasing their risk of heart disease, deadline lung conditions, and cancer. If you don’t want to stop for yourself, consider doing it for your family or children. They’ll be healthier and happier, and you could be around longer to enjoy their company.
It Limits Your Life Expectancy
Some studies show that every cigarette you smoke takes 11 minutes off your life expectancy – and that’s before you even start to consider the diseases and other issues that smoking can cause.
When you realise that every 20 pack of cigarettes could be taking almost four hours from your predicted lifespan, there’s a real incentive to quit. That’s nearly two months every year, which is a scary thought and motivation enough on its own to encourage you to quit.
Before You Quit
There’s no time like the present to quit smoking, but it’s worth thinking carefully about how you’re going to achieve your goals before you start. While some people manage to drop cigarettes by going cold turkey, others struggle and end up relapsing after popping outside for one last puff.
Before you ditch your last pack, think carefully about your goals and your relationship with smoking. Time spent strategizing will give you the best possible chance of quitting permanently.
Map Out Your Motivations
Before quitting, think carefully about exactly what it is that you’re trying to achieve. Write down these concerns and commitments, as these will become your “reasons why”.
Whenever you’re struggling or longing for a smoke, think back to these reasons and try to remember why you started this journey in the first place. It’s not going to be easy, but then the most important things never are.
Tell Your Friends and Family
A problem shared is a problem halved, or so they say. It might be a cliché, but the old adage certainly applies to anyone who wants to quit smoking.
By telling your friends and family that you’re going to quit smoking, you’ll be able to create a network of supporters to get you through the hard times and provide you with the help you need to see your challenge through.
In addition to providing a shoulder to lean on, your friends and family may have their own practical advice and guidance on how to quit smoking effectively. Some will probably have been through the same thing themselves, while others will simply be on hand to ensure you stick to your commitment.
Quit With a Buddy
Smoking is often seen as a social habit. When your friends and colleagues smoke, it can be all too tempting to join them outside for a quick break which could cause you to fall back into bad habits.
When trying to quit, bringing another smoker along with you could help you both to stay on the straight and narrow. When you and your friend are both trying to change your ways, you’ll be able to keep one another accountable – plus you’ll still have company at gatherings and events when other people go outside to smoke. Once you’ve pushed past the cravings, you’ll both be able to celebrate with your newfound disposable income too!
Talk To Your Pharmacist or GP
As with any major decision that might affect your personal health, it’s sensible to consult your doctor or at least a pharmacist before you decide to quit smoking. They’ll be delighted with your decision and happy to help in any way they can.
Medical professionals have a wide array of tools, tips, and medications that could help you to quit smoking for good. These include everything from chewing gum, patches and vapes to help you manage nicotine cravings, right through to specialist medications like Zyban and Champix. These medications are intended to wean you away from cigarettes and are known to be an effective tool for even the heaviest smokers.
Work Out Your Triggers
Cigarettes and tobacco smoke aren’t the only things that could cause you to pick up another pack. In fact, most smokers find that it’s actually other triggers and lifestyle choices that cause them the most difficulty when trying to quit smoking.
In many cases, drinking alcohol could be your downfall when trying to pack in the fags. Just a few drinks in a social setting and you might find yourself reaching a ciggy. Similarly, many people turn to smoking when they’re stressed despite the fact that there are many other relaxing habits you could take up that won’t damage your health or bank account.
Each and every former smoker has their own set of triggers that make it harder to stay away from tobacco. Avoiding yours will be essential if you want your quit smoking mission to be a success.
Practical Steps to Stop Smoking
So you’ve decided to quit smoking. Great! Now comes the hard part.
Fortunately, there are lots of tried and tested methods that help smokers to give up their habit. Here are some of the most popular approaches:
While you may be eager to give up cigarettes entirely, starting slow could give you a better chance of reaching your smoke-free goals.
Rather than dropping smoking immediately, you might find it easier to wind down your habit by taking away one cigarette every few days (or whatever interval suits you best). This will gradually ease you into a life without tobacco, giving you more time and helping you to wean yourself off of nicotine and the other harmful yet addictive chemicals that are found in cigarettes.
Give Up Your Lighter
Your lighter, ashtray, rolling papers and other personal items are useless if you’re not smoking – and keeping them around could push you back towards cigarettes. Binning your gear could help you to keep your mind occupied with other things, preventing you from slipping back into old ways or sneaking out to the shops to buy cigarettes. By ditching the smoking accessories, you won’t be able to light up even if you want to!
Try Smoking Alternatives
If you find it hard going cold turkey, there are plenty of alternatives available within the market. From herbal cigarettes and chew pouches to vapes and nicotine patches, you’re sure to find something that will help you with your nicotine cravings.
If you’re set on trying a vape or some other form of smoking replacement, beware. Taking up another similar habit could be a slippery slope that leads you back towards cigarettes. Try to limit your use and avoid high nicotine content devices that could make your addiction even worse.
It pays to keep yourself motivated and when you quit smoking, you’ll also have the added bonus of extra income that’s not used paying for cigarettes. That means you could spend your money on doing something fun, going out for a nice meal every now and then, or even travelling the world.
Remember to treat yourself often to ensure you’ve got all the incentive you need to keep going on your journey to a smoke-free future.
Think About Your Lifestyle
People often try to quit smoking as part of a wider health kick. Maybe it’s a New Year’s Resolution, or simply a fresh start. Either way, it doesn’t always make sense to tackle too much at once. You may find that you fall off the bandwagon sooner if you try to start a diet, join the gym, and quit smoking all at once.
Rather than trying to change everything in one go, take smaller steps that help you to divide and conquer your goals. Rather than starting a diet, simply try to include more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your meals. These will help to keep your body nourished even if your nicotine cravings are kicking in. Similarly, getting outside for as many walks and jogs as possible will help you to get over the worst of smoking withdrawal symptoms.
You may be on route to a healthier new you, but it’s okay to take things one step at a time!
It’s clear that there are many reasons to stop smoking, from your health and well-being through to your personal finances.
Whatever your reason for quitting, it’s important not to be too hard on yourself. Just keep on moving forward one day at a time and soon you’ll be healthy, happy and smoke free.