How to quit smoking (and save a fortune)
Chances are you've probably heard that smoking is bad for you, but have you ever thought about the financial costs?
If you're one of the seven 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. A whopping 20% people aged 18–24 admit to being addicted, which in our books is way too much!
If you've made your way here, however, you are most likely working out how to kick the habit. We're not here to preach about what smoking does to your health (we'll leave that to the experts). Our only goal is to inspire you to quit by reminding you how much richer you could be!
In a potentially over-ambitious quest to help students take the idea of quitting more seriously, we've come up with a range of ideas for quitting smoking on the cheap as well as focussing on just how much you could save if you packed in the fags once and for all.
What's on this page:
There's nothing that'll kick start your motivation more than thinking about how much dollar you could save.
Whether it's your dream to buy the New York Knicks, 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||60 bottles of 70cl Gordon's Gin or 253 pints down the local.|
|10 a day||£150||£1,825||A round the world ticket for your year out travelling or (almost) two iMacs with student discount.|
|20 a day||£300||£3,650||Six iPads Pros (with student discount) a year, with change. Or an all-inclusive holiday to Palm Beach with £900 spending money.|
|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, so please don't blame us if you ‘only' end up with £800 for your all-inclusive holiday!
Credit: SmartSign – Flickr
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. As a general rule though, it really is best to just throw all your ciggies as far as you can throw them 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.
Most of your withdrawal symptoms will fade in about two to three weeks of giving up anyway, and you'll have much more dollar to spend instantly. Kerching!
We're all aware that smoking is insanely costly and many smokers are quick to point out that depending on which method you go for, giving up can be almost as pricey. Stop-smoking aids can be expensive, so it's important to choose your preferred option wisely, or stock up on some serious willpower.
Whatever works for you though, remember you won't need to use it forever. It's just to get you off the cigarettes before you go completely nicotine-free. Hooray!
Perhaps one of the best and cheapest resources to help you stop smoking is by using this totally free NHS service.
There's a website packed full of advice and tools to help you quit, a freephone number for further support and advice and you can also order a free help to quit kit.
There's even a mobile app to help keep you from lighting up which tracks how long you've been smoke free and how much you've saved.
Gum, patches and inhalers
Credit: mendhak – Flickr
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 nasties such as tar and carbon monoxide. They are also much less addictive – people who opt for the microtab, for example, can be completely off them in less than six months.
Other options include lozenges or inhalers for people who miss having something to physically “smoke”.
Credit: Lindsay Fox – Flickr
E-Cigarettes aren't covered by a medicine license, and there isn't a clear consensus regarding their status as stop-smoking aid.
However, whilst the big wigs battle it out, we'll continue to use them to help us kick the real deal – after all, there's no denying that they're at least a step better than cigarettes.
Many e-cigarettes are even designed to look like the real thing – you use them in exactly the same way, delivering a nicotine hit to your lungs through water vapour as opposed to tarry smoke. For those of you trying to ditch the nicotine but struggle to give up the habit of smoking, there are purely herbal e-cigs available too.
Some places still allow you to use e-cigs indoors as they're not covered by the smoking ban, but each individual premises has the right to ban them if they wish.
Cost: You can snag a starter pack for around £12 if you have a look around online. These contains charger, refills – the whole shebang to get you started.
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 or pharmacist before you'll be able to get your hands on them, but many smokers have had success with them.
With Zyban, you start taking the tablets one to two weeks before you quit, and they help reduce the withdrawal symptoms, making it much easier to quit.
However, it's not that clear how Zyban actually works on your brain, and there have been some instances of people reacting badly to it, so make sure you speak to your GP about it in depth before moving forward.
Champix works by blocking your body's cravings and also the ‘high' you feel from smoking a cigarette. Similarly, you start taking Champix whilst you're still smoking and set a date to stop over a course of a few weeks.
According to the NHS, Champix has a higher success rate than Zyban, but there have been reports of it causing depression amongst users. So again, be cautious!
Cost: The current prescription cost is £8.60 a pop, but some students are entitled to free prescriptions, depending on your income.
Finally, it's worth remembering that no matter how many tablets or patches you buy, giving up smoking is never going to be easy.
That said, we can confirm without doubt it will be one of the best things you ever do. To help you out, we've included a few extra lifestyle tips to give you a fighting chance.
Tell everyone you're stopping
Sure, it might begin to get on your nerves that everyone is on your case if you go for a sneaky one. But it will help you keep your will power up if you know your fam and friends are watching.
Aside from pestering you if you look like breaking, 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?
Make a list of reasons why you're stopping
Before you stop, 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 personal to you, as they'll be more likely to resonate with you in times of crisis.
Make it a group effort
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, it's 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 all celebrate together!
Bin your smoking tools
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.
Have you given up smoking and got some tips to share that we've missed? Let us know in the comments section below!