How to quit smoking and save money
Smoking is bad for you. Shocker. And yes, we know you know. But have you stopped to consider how much cigarettes might be costing you every year? It could be as much as six months' rent!
If you're one of the 7.1 million smokers in the UK right now, chances are you're quite familiar with the pain of being perpetually skint.
While life isn't exactly caviar and champagne for the rest of us, lighting up undeniably packs a heavy punch on your wallet. If you've made your way here, however, you're most likely working out how to kick the habit. We're not here to preach about what smoking does to your health – our only goal is to inspire you to quit by reminding you how much richer you could be!
We've come up with a range of ideas for quitting smoking on the cheap as well as focusing on just how much you could save if you packed in the fags once and for all.
What's in this guide?
8 cheap ways to quit smoking easily
If you want to stop smoking, you can start by making these small lifestyle changes to get you nicotine-free once and for all:
Make a list of reasons why you're stopping
Before you quite, sit down and think of exactly why you want to stop smoking. That way, when you're feeling the strain, you can go back and look at your reasons and hopefully stay strong.
Try and make the list of reasons that are personal to you, as they'll be more likely to resonate with you in times of crisis. And keep them on your phone so you have them to hand during said times!
Bin your ashtray and lighter
It's always going to be more tempting to smoke if you still have all the smoking gear around you (yes, even that special Bob Marley ashtray).
Dispose of it all (safely, of course) so that, even if you do fancy a quick puff, you won't be able to.
Tell everyone you're stopping
Sure, it might begin to get on your nerves that everyone is on your case when you go for a sneaky one. But it will help you keep your willpower up if you know your family and friends are watching.
Aside from pestering you if you look like you're about to break, friends and family will often be able to offer support and guidance.
Plus, no one wants to be that guy (or gal) that lets everyone down, right?
Get your friends to join you
If you live or socialise with a lot of smokers, it's well worth trying to convince them to stop at the same time. Not only will not being around smoke make it easier for you, but it's also great to have a support network of people who are struggling just as much as you are.
You'll all be quids in at the end of it too, so you can celebrate together!
Use Smokefree NHS and quit smoking apps
Perhaps one of the best and cheapest resources to help you stop smoking is by using this totally free NHS service also known as Smokefree.
There's a website packed full of advice and tools to help you quit, a freephone number for further support and advice, as well as the option to order a free help to quit kit. And, of course, there's the Smokefree app which tracks how long you've been smoke-free and how much you've saved.
If the NHS's offering doesn't do it for you, there are a tonne of other apps out there to try, including Smoke Free (no it's NOT the same as the NHS one), Kwit and Quit Genius. These rely on a similar diary method and track the pounds you're saving, and they give a little positive reinforcement for when the going gets rough!
Use nicotine replacement products
One of the hardest things about binning the ciggies is the lack of nicotine in your system.
If you're finding it hard to control your cravings, there are a whole host of nicotine replacements such as gum, patches, lozenges and sprays that will make the weaning process that bit easier to handle.
They work by giving you a hit of nicotine, just like a cigarette, but without all the nastiness of tar and carbon monoxide. They're also much less addictive – people who opt for the microtab, for example, can be completely off them in less than six months.
Try vapes and e-cigarettes
Not all vapes and e-cigarettes are regarded as medical devices to help cut down nicotine consumption, but the ones that are will be clearly marked with what is known as a 'CE marking' (certification to European conformity).
Most e-cigarettes are designed to look similar to the real thing – you use them in exactly the same way, delivering a nicotine hit to your lungs through water vapour as opposed to tar-filled smoke. For those of you trying to ditch the nicotine altogether, there are purely herbal e-cigs available too!
Some places still allow you to use vapes indoors as they're not covered by the smoking ban, but each individual premises has the right to ban them if they wish.
You can snag a starter pack for around £10 which contain a charger and refills.
Try prescription medication
As well as nicotine replacement products, there are also two specialist medicines available: Zyban and Champix. You can only get these on prescription, so you'll have to have a chat with your GP before you get your hands on them.
Zyban helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms, so if you opt for this, you'll start taking the tablets one to two weeks before you quit smoking. It's not clear exactly how Zyban actually works on the brain, but it's thought to regulate the part which controls addictive behaviour. Treatment usually lasts between seven to nine weeks.
You also start taking Champix while you're still smoking and set a date to stop over the course of a few weeks. Champix works by blocking your body's cravings and by blocking the 'high' you feel from smoking a cigarette. Treatment is a bit longer and lasts around 12 weeks.
According to the NHS, Champix has a higher success rate than Zyban, but there have been reports of it causing depression among users. So, again, be cautious!
The current prescription cost in England is £9 a pop, but some students are entitled to free prescriptions depending on their income.
Is going cold turkey the best way to stop smoking?
As far as contentious topics go, this is right up there with the order you put milk and water into your tea (milk first, obv), or whether ketchup goes in the fridge or the cupboard (no strong opinions here, but probably fridge).
Whether to quit all at once, or slowly wean yourself off, is a question that even the professionals can't agree on. But, as a general rule, it really is best to just throw all your ciggies as far away as you can and leave them there!
Gradually weaning yourself off might sound like an easier option than going all out but, in reality, it's just as hard and takes a lot longer. This is because you're essentially drawing out the process and will feel the cravings for a longer period of time.
How much does smoking cost?
There's nothing that'll kick start your motivation more than thinking about how much cash you could save.
Whether it's your dream to buy the London Eye, or you'd just like to buy a round at the pub for your mates to say sorry for all the years of passive smoking, going smoke-free will put a whole lot of cash back in your pocket.
We've compiled all this information into a table for you, so you can work out exactly what you can trade your addiction in for each year. To clarify, at the time of writing a pack of 20 cigarettes was about £10 (so about 50p per fag).
|Cigarettes||Monthly cost*||Yearly cost*||What it's equivalent to|
|5 a day||£75||£912.50||70 bottles of 70cl Gordon's Gin or 247 pints down your local|
|10 a day||£150||£1,825||Flights to Bali plus spending money or (almost) four iPhone 8's|
|20 a day||£300||£3,650||Five iPads Pros (with student discount) or approximately six months' rent|
|40 a day||£60||£7,300||Basically your student loan for the whole year|
* Please be aware that these figures are estimates. Prices for different brands, roll-ups and iPads do vary all the time!
Now all that's left to do is put down those ciggies and walk the walk. Good luck!
Exercise is a great way to get your mind off your cravings!