How to quit smoking and save money
Quitting smoking is not only good for your health but also your bank balance. Read on for the best ways to stop smoking and save money...
If you're one of the millions of smokers in the UK, you will no doubt be familiar with the big cost of smoking.
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 – but we do think it's important to also consider the impact it has on your finances.
We've come up with a range of ideas on how to quit smoking cheaply, 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 best ways to stop smoking easily
These are the cheapest and best ways to quit smoking:
Make a list of reasons to stop smoking
Before you quit, 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 a list of reasons that are personal to you, as they'll be more likely to resonate with you in times of crisis. It's worth keeping the list on your phone so you have the reasons to hand when you need a reminder.
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.
Safely dispose of your ashtray, lighter and (if you haven't already) your last cigarettes. This way, even if you do fancy a quick puff, you won't be able to.
Tell everyone you've quit smoking
Sure, it might begin to get on your nerves that everyone is on your case when you go for a sneaky one. But it's also motivating to know your family and friends are there to support you.
Some of them may have stopped smoking themselves and can relate to how you're feeling. They can offer advice and guidance on how to approach the moments when you're tempted to have a cigarette.
Get your friends to join you
If you live or socialise with a lot of smokers, it's worth trying to convince them to stop at the same time.
Not only will not being around smoke make it easier for you to resist the temptation, but it's also great to have a support network of people who are going through it with you.
You'll all be quids in at the end of it too, so you can celebrate together!
Use Stoptober NHS and other 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 Stoptober.
There's a website packed full of advice and tools to help you quit, a helpline for further support and advice, as well as the option to order a free help to quit kit. And, of course, there's the Stoptober app which has a four-week programme, tracking how much money you're saving.
If the NHS's app doesn't do it for you, there are lots of other apps out there to try, including Smoke Free, Kwit and Quit Genius. These rely on a similar diary method, tracking the pounds you're saving, and they give a little positive reinforcement for when the process feels tough.
Use nicotine replacement products
One of the hardest things about stopping smoking 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 microtabs, for example, can find them to be effective aids for stopping smoking.
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). This will still be the case post-Brexit until the end of 2022.
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.
You can get a starter pack for around £14 which contains 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 need to have a chat with your GP before getting 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 seems to be the most effective medicine to help people quit smoking.
The current prescription cost in England is £9.35 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, obviously), or whether chocolate goes in the fridge or the cupboard.
Whether to quit all at once, or slowly wean yourself off, is a question that even professionals can't agree on. But, as a general rule, it really is best to just throw all your cigarettes 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 can be just as hard and could take a lot longer. This is because you're essentially drawing out the process and will feel the cravings for a longer period of time.
If you're unsure how best to approach it, see the NHS advice for more details.
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 massively help you save money.
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 could be equivalent to (yearly)|
|5 a day||£75||£912.50||220 pints down your local|
|10 a day||£150||£1,825||Holiday to Bali or two iPhone 13 Pros|
|20 a day||£300||£3,650||Four iPad Pros or approximately eight months' rent|
|40 a day||£600||£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 vary.
Now all that's left to do is put down those ciggies and walk the walk. Good luck!
Looking for some things to do to get your mind off your cravings? Exercise is a great way to do just that.