Smoking can seriously damage your wealth, affecting savings, mortgages and insurance

26 June 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
Many people in the UK have given up smoking since the ban was introduced in July 2007 and, in addition to the obvious health benefits, experts are drawing attention to the significant savings ex-smokers will have made as the anniversary approaches.

NHS figures show that almost 165,000 people quit the habit with NHS help in 2007, compared with fewer than 129,000 in 2006, and this increase has been partly attributed to the July ban.

Analyst at Moneyfacts.co.uk, Michelle Slade, said: "Nearly one year on, these reformed smokers are not only likely to be feeling the health benefits, but could also be feeling the benefits in their pockets.

"The average smoker is predicted to smoke 30 cigarettes per day. Based on a cost of £5.50 per packet for 20 cigarettes, if a smoker kicked their habit, they could save £250 per month."

Ms Slade points out that the top paying variable rate regular saver available this time last year was offering a seven per cent rate. "If they invested £250 per month into this account they would now have accumulated £3,108," she said.

According to Alliance & Leicester Savings, 22 per cent of all adults in England still smoke, and those that smoke 20 cigarettes a day spend more than £2,000 a year on cigarettes. It reveals that by giving up and putting the money into a high rate savings account, smokers could have saved up to £2,198 since the smoking ban.

Manager for savings at Alliance & Leicester, Hetal Parmar, said: "We are all feeling the pinch on our purse-strings at the moment yet, as a nation, we still spend billions of pounds on cigarettes each year - money which could help us cover the rising cost of living or could be set aside to build up a nest-egg."

Abbey research shows that giving up smoking could enable people to save £2,119 in a savings account or knock eight years – and £50,000 – off their mortgage simply by overpaying by £5 each day rather than spending the money on cigarettes.

Director of savings and investments at Abbey, Reza Attar-Zadeh, said: "It goes without saying that giving up smoking is not only great for your health but also for your bank balance. Using the saving wisely could knock years off your mortgage."

Furthermore, kicking the habit could make a significant impact on insurance prices. According to Ms Slade: "Most life assurance companies consider customers to be non-smokers if they have not smoked for 12 months. Anyone who gave up when the smoking ban came into force would now fall into this category.

"Due to the increased risks from smoking, most life assurance companies charge smokers over 50 per cent more than they charge non-smokers. Anyone looking to take out life assurance now could make a large saving.

©Fair Investment Company Ltd