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Health & Relationships

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...

person breaking a cigarette

Credit: Nuttaphrong Sriset– Shutterstock

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, though, 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. On top of that, we'll focus on how much you could save if you stopped smoking once and for all.

If you find yourself turning to cigarettes when you're stressed, you can always talk to your uni's mental health services or your GP for extra support.

8 best ways to stop smoking easily

These are the cheapest and best ways to quit smoking:

  1. Make a list of reasons to stop smoking

    person writing in a notepad with pen

    Before you quit, sit down and think about 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 to make a list of reasons that are personal to you. 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.

  2. 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 feel like you want to smoke, you won't be able to.

  3. Tell everyone you've quit smoking

    Sure, it might get on your nerves that everyone is on your case when you go for a sneaky cigarette. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. Use Stoptober NHS and other quit smoking apps

    Perhaps one of the best and cheapest resources to help you stop smoking is the free NHS service, Stoptober.

    There's a website packed full of advice and tools to help you quit and a helpline for further support and advice. And the Stoptober app has a four-week programme that tracks how much money you're saving.

    If the NHS's app doesn't do it for you, there are lots of other apps you could 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.

  6. Use nicotine replacement products

    patch on arm

    Credit (background): Andrey_Popov – Shutterstock

    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. These 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.

    At the time of writing, a pack of patches will set you back around £9, with gum going for around £24 for 210 pieces. Microtabs cost about £16 for a pack of 100 and lozenges retail for around £4.

  7. Try vapes and e-cigarettes

    It's important to keep in mind that no vaping products have been licensed as stop-smoking medicines in the UK. However, the NHS does state that you're roughly twice as likely to quit smoking if you use a vape compared to other nicotine replacement products.

    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.

    The NHS has a handy guide explaining how you can use them to quit smoking and where you can buy them.

  8. Try prescription medication

    As well as nicotine replacement products, there is also a specialist medicine called Zyban. You can only get this on prescription, so you'll need to have a chat with your GP before getting it.

    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.

    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?

turkey

Whether to quit all at once, or slowly wean yourself off, is a question that even professionals can't agree on. What works better depends on your situation, personality and surroundings.

Quitting cold turkey can be very effective, but withdrawal symptoms can make it quite tough. Gradually cutting down on your nicotine intake lets your body slowly adjust. While it can take a lot longer, the withdrawal symptoms and cravings are not as intense.

If you're unsure how best to approach it, see the NHS advice for more details.

How much does smoking cost?

If you're looking for motivation, think about how much cash you could save by quitting smoking.

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 cigarette).

CigarettesMonthly cost*Yearly cost*What it could be equivalent to (yearly)
5 a day£75£912.50220 pints down your local
10 a day£150£1,825Holiday to Bali or two iPhone 14s
20 a day£300£3,650Four iPad Pros or eight months' rent
40 a day£600£7,300Basically your Student Loan for the whole year

* Please be aware that these figures are estimates. Prices can 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.

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