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Top 5 Things for You to Do Instead of Smoking

  • Tobacco is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the world
  • Smoking caused an estimated 43,000 deaths from cancer in the UK in 2010, 27% of all cancer deaths that year.
  • Tobacco is responsible for 19% of all cases of cancer in the UK.

Stoptober: Now’s not the time to give up on giving up smoking!

Robert Harvey, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

The first week of Stoptober has ended and now the second week is underway, which many people say is one of the most difficult.

This is the week when smokers typically tackle their psychological attachment to smoking now that most of their chemical driven cravings are out of their system. This is where the real challenge lies.

Robert Harvey
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Staying determined during this difficult time and giving up smoking for good offers countless rewards. So, to save you from throwing in the towel after only the first round, we have put together a list of 5 great things that you could be doing instead of smoking if you make it through Stoptober.

By quitting smoking today you could save money on your insurance premiums.

1. Paying Less for your Insurance

Important insurance products like Life Insurance, Health Insurance and Income Protection are priced in accordance with your personal situation and your state of health.

If you are in good health, you will find insurance policies to be pretty standard in price. But, if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle, you may find that you have a little extra piled on top of your premiums – or sometimes even a lot extra.

Smokers in particular are known to have their premiums ‘loaded’ by 50% or even 100% more than healthy individuals applying for exactly the same policy.

Victoria Slade, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

The cost of life cover is generally twice as high for smokers and it rises even higher if you’re still smoking in your forties. Meanwhile, smokers will tend to pay at least 25% more for Income Protection Insurance.

Victoria Slade
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Insurers’ dislike of smoking can even go so far as to influence the way entire regions have their insurance valued.

You smoker status plays a huge role in how your insurance policies are priced.

One of the main factors that influences the cost of Life Insurance policies is your life expectancy. Premiums are more expensive for those with lower life expediencies, as the chance of them claiming on  a policy is higher.

Some insurers may use the average life expectancy of the region in which you live to find your approximate life expectancy and this can be affected by the amount of smokers in your region.

For example, more people in the north of the UK smoke than people living in the south, which means that the general life expectancy of the northern regions is lower than it is in the south.

This means that the ticket to cheaper insurance policies is to ditch the cigarettes. After a year of going cigarette-free, you could see premiums on protection policies reduced considerably while you receive the same amount of cover.

Will Martin, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

When applying for your insurance policy or informing your insurer of your new smoker status, you may need to undergo a screening test to detect tobacco use (which can be traceable for as long as a year after your last cigarette).

If you give up smoking for a full 365 days and pass this test, you may have access to the same or similar premiums as non-smokers.

Will Martin
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Smoking makes exercise difficult, but a few months without cigarettes can change that.

2. Getting in Shape

While it may take years to be fully recovered from the effects of smoking, your body can start that recovery process almost immediately after you finish your last cigarette.

Breathing difficulty is one of the main reasons why many smokers avoid exercising. But, after only a few months of not smoking, your lungs will be strong enough to deal with regular exercise. In theory, if you gave up smoking today, you could be finishing your first marathon a year from now.

You energy increases when you stop smoking, which means that you'll have motivation to get out and about.

Your lungs will begin their healing process on average only 48 hours after you’ve given up smoking. In a day or two after this, you will find that you’re breathing a lot easier.

This is because the cilia in your lungs will start working again to clear out the dirt and mucus from your lungs now that they are now longer paralysed from the chemicals used in cigarettes.

This healing process is also the reason why many ex-smokers cough more after giving up smoking than they did when they smoked. After a few months after kicking your smoking habit, you won’t find yourself running out of breath so quickly when you exercise.

Improved respiratory function also means reduced fatigue, so you will have a lot more energy to put towards getting in shape and getting healthy.

egle blusiute, independent protection expert at drewberry

Insurers love healthy clients and insurance providers like Vitality even offer rewards and discounts to policyholders that take an active interest in their health and fitness.

If you quit smoking today, you will find it a lot easier to improve your health, which can pay off in a lot more ways than just your insurance premiums.

Egle Blusiute
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

The money you save up by giving up smoking all adds up.

3. Saving Money for Something Special

The price of tobacco has increased by 90% in the last ten years and when you smoke, you are effectively burning through your potential savings. You would be surprised by how much money you could save by giving up smoking. A few cigarettes here and there doesn’t seem like much when you smoke on a daily basis, but these costs all add up over time.

Today, the average amount of cigarettes that people in the UK smoke per day is 12 for men and 11 for women. At the same time, the recommended retail price for a 20 pack of cigarettes in 2017 is £9.91, which can be rounded to about 50p per cigarette.

Spend the money you save on cigarettes on something special, or put it in your savings for later.

So, the average female smoker in the UK spends roughly £5.50 per day on cigarettes while the average male smoker will spend around £6 per day.

In the space of a year, the average female smoker in the UK will spend £2,007.50 on cigarettes per year and the average male smoker will spend £2,190. For many people in the UK, these yearly smoking budgets are equal to – if not more than – a whole month’s salary.

After 1 Year

After 5 Years

After 15 Years

Casual smoker
(5 per day)




Average Smoker
(11 per day)




Heavy Smoker
(20 per day)




Sam Barr-Worsfold, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

While the savings may seem small at first, cutting out the cost of cigarettes from your monthly expenditure can make a difference over time.

Putting away a whole extra month’s worth of income at the end of the year could transform your savings and help you through difficult financial situations later in life. This includes putting cash into your pension, into which many people consistently under-save.

Sam Barr-Worsfold
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Cigarette butts are the most highly littered form of waste in the world.

4. Saving the Planet

Giving up smoking not only benefits you, but also the environment and the people around you. Smoking and the tobacco industry contribute to pollution and global warming in many different ways.

The global demand for tobacco is putting strain on our planet and resources, but we can change that.

Tobacco plants require vast quantities of pesticides and growth regulators to meet the demands of the global market, many of which include harmful chemicals that are so dangerous that their use has been banned in some countries.

The tobacco industry has played a considerable role in the production of greenhouse gases due to extensive deforestation. It’s been estimated that every year, 11.4 million metric tonnes of wood are used for tobacco curing. This doesn’t take into account the massive amounts of trees that are cleared for tobacco farming.

Even more damage is done to the environment during the manufacturing and packaging processes where massive amounts of waste are produced. Cigarette smoke also releases toxicants and pollutants into the environment that are able to reduce the air quality of entire cities and when disposed of, cigarette butts can take as long as 12 years to decompose.

If you keep up the fight and give up smoking, you could help to cut back on the damage that smoking does to our environment. For every average smoker that gives up smoking, there are around 4,380 fewer cigarette butts disposed of every year.

By giving up smoking, you stand a better chance of enjoying retirement and living longer.

5. Preparing for a Worthwhile Retirement

What do you imagine you will be doing when you retire? As tragic and disturbing as the reality is, there are many smokers today who may not live to retirement if they don’t kick the habit soon.

By going smoke free, you can improve your health and dedicate more of your earnings to your pension.In 2010, smoking tobacco was the cause of an estimated 101,000 deaths in the UK – almost a fifth (18%) of the total deaths that year.

Other smokers that live longer might be forced into retirement early due to ill health and conditions attributable to smoking. Tobacco is known to increase the risk of several cancers, not limited to lung, oral, esophageal, stomach, bladder, ovarian and liver cancer. 

Many of the health issues that smokers suffer from have life altering effects that can become debilitating in old age.

Poor health is a common reason for early retirement, but an early retirement isn’t always a good thing. You might need those extra years of work to get your finances in order and get ready your pension.

This can become even more of a problem if your health is in such serious decline that you require special care or facilities in your old age.

Matteo Mockler
Health & Wellbeing Expert at Drewberry

Smoking also impacts your immune system, which already weakens as you get older. This means that small illnesses can last a lot longer and be more devastating if you continue to smoke into your old age.

15 years of not smoking is all it takes to reverse most of the effects of smoking

People that continue to smoke into their old age have far higher mortality from cancers, respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular illnesses and chronic conditions compared to non-smokers.

But if you kick the habit today in 15 years time your risks of suffering from diseases attributable to smoking could be the same as someone who has never smoked in their life.

The money you save by giving up smoking and the money you make by working until you’re good and ready to retire can do wonders for your pension savings. Today, most people aren’t contributing as much to their pension as they should. Many people aren’t even aware of how much their pension is worth.

In our Drewberry 2017 Wealth & Protection Survey, more than 50% of the people that participated did not know how much their pension was worth. A further 22% had a pension worth no more than £10,000.


How Much is Your Pension worth?

Neil Adams, Pension & Investment Adviser at Drewberry

The money you spend on cigarettes can be put to great use if you invest it in a pension to use after your retirement. By doing this you can ensure that you not only have enough to get by when you retire, but also have enough to make the most of your retirement.

15 years worth of savings from smoking for an average smoker adds up to over £30,000 – this could be an important boost for any pension pot, particularly for those who struggle to save.

Neil Adams
Pension & Investment Adviser at Drewberry

Even if you are already retired and still smoking, giving up smoking can have a fast-acting positive impact on your health and quality of life.

Get Help and Stop Smoking Today

Tom Conner, Director at Drewberry

It’s not too late to join in with Stoptober 2017. Giving up smoking could change your life for the better and benefits almost every aspect of your life. Visit the official NHS official Stoptober page for help to give up smoking today.

Tom Conner
Director at Drewberry

Drew was incredibly helpful all the way along and very responsive and patient with any questions I had (which were many). He was able to get me a much better deal on my new health insurance than I had been able to get online. A success all round!

Francesc Sale
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