Cost of smoking equals a small pension

09 March 2006
Breathless Brits are puffing their way through an estimated £17 billion in cigarettes and other tobacco every year, according to recent research.

As national No Smoking Day seeks to encourage more people to quit the habit, Clerical Medical is reporting that the average smoker spends around £1,500 a year on some 303 packets of cigarettes.

Even smokers who class themselves in the "social" category manage to light up 756 times each year, setting them back £186, or £11,000 during their lifetime.

At a time when personal debt has hit trillions of pounds and fewer people are saving for their retirement, the amount of money spent is "staggering", according to John Hiew, managing director of the pensions and investments firm.

In fact, the poll of 3,000 people found that the average £92,000 spent on cigarettes over a lifetime could also be used to finance a pension of £6,000 a year.

Mr Hiew explained: "We all know about the health problems associated with smoking but we wanted to find about out the wealth implications associated with the habit.

"It's a staggering amount of money British smokers spend whichever way you look at it, and that's a hell of a lot of disposable income just going up in smoke.

"If people were to consider putting the money they spend each month on cigarettes into a savings plan not only would they probably live longer, but they could have an extra income of thousands of pounds a year."

A poll from No Smoking Day showed that around 20 per cent of the UK's 12 million smokers could quit following the ban on smoking in public places.

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