One hand outstretched holding cigarettes and the other hand holding coins

The price we pay for smoking and top tips to quit  

Looking for a sign to finally crack down on smoking habits? Well here it is…

With the introduction of the Government’s smoking ban, now is as good a time as ever to make a plan to quit.

The smoking ban aims to create a smoke free generation for those born after 2009. Anyone born before will still be able to purchase cigarettes,  but prices will continue to rise.

Tobacco prices already put a huge dent in our pockets.  For someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day, that’s a spend of £93.10 per week. 

With pack prices set to rise from £13.10 to £16 in 2026, this could mean setting us back £112 a week and £5,824 a year. Imagine what we could do with that money! 

We all have our reasons for smoking, whether it’s coping with stress, managing daily life, or simply getting stuck in a bad habit.  More than half of smokers in the UK have a desire to quit, but as we know, it can be a challenge. So how do we get out of it? 

1. Seek support 

      There’s a lot of help out there for smokers looking to quit. Smokers are three times more likely to quit with a local smoking service than on their own.

      Dr Irem Patel, Consultant Respiratory Physician of Integrated Care at King’s College Hospital NHS FT and Joint Clinical Director for Respiratory, NHS (London), told Quids in!: “treatments work best when combined with advice and support from a quit smoking specialist advisor.” 

      We can find a smoking service near us through the NHS stop smoking webpage. 

      2. Use alternatives  

        From April 2024 onwards, through the new ‘Swap to Stop’ scheme, a million vape starter kits will be offered to long term smokers ready to quit tobacco. The kits are available at our local Stop Smoking Service.  

        “It includes access to specialist quit smoking advice as well as a free starter kit of a vape device and e-liquids,” says Dr Irem Patel,  “to help you make the switch from cigarettes and reduce the harm they cause to your body and those around you.”

        The scheme’s objective is to help people quit smoking by offering them a less harmful alternative that has a much lower risk of diseases such as cancer, strokes, and heart attacks. 

        It may seem strange to replace smoking with vaping, but Dr Irem Patel affirms that, “If you replace nicotine in a way that doesn’t include all the harmful chemicals in cigarettes, you immediately reduce the harm from smoking, as well as treating the craving for nicotine. Nicotine-containing vapes are a very effective and helpful way to do this for adult smokers and are far, far safer than continuing to smoke tobacco.” 

        Our local Smoking Service may also recommend treatments such as nicotine replacement therapy or bupropion. We can also find nicotine gum and patches at our local pharmacy, supermarket, or online. 

        3. Step-by-step

        Another method is to focus on a goal that seems more manageable. While the thought of quitting may seem impossible, it might lessen the pressure to set a smaller goal, like not smoking before noon or only smoking on the weekends. 

        Cutting down by just a couple of cigarettes doesn’t seem like much, but overtime, it gets easier to keep on reducing. 

        4. Create accountability  

        Some find it helpful to set a realistic date in their calendar when they plan to quit. It’s harder to back out of a goal when it’s marked down in our calendar. Also, it’s easier to stay on top of a goal when you have a support system. Tell your loved ones about your goal to quit and let them hold you accountable. 

        5. Stay motivated

        Sometimes it’s two steps forward, one step back. It often takes people a number of tries before they can quit for good. By making it 28 days smoke-free, we increase our likelihood to quit by 5 times.

        If we quit smoking today, within a couple weeks we will already see benefits like reduced blood pressure, improved circulation, and decreased wrinkles. Within a year, our risk of a heart attack will drop by half. Not to mention, our yearly costs will go down. “Quitting smoking can save you thousands of pounds every year,” says Dr Item Patel. 

        Use the Quids in! budget planner to see how much we can save by reducing our smoking. 

        Image: Andrey Popov / Shutterstock

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