October 09, 2005

The True 'Cost' Of Smoking

Now please don't take this the wrong way. This is not an attack on smokers or smoking, this is not an attempt to try to guilt anyone into giving up, I'm a smoker so it would be pretty hypocritical to start lecturing anyone about it. However I'm always half heartedly promising myself I'll give up - tomorrow, or before my next birthday, or after I've lost some weight, got fit, won the lottery etc etc and I saw an article in 'The Sun' on Saturday that has probably made me think just how stupid smoking is more than any of the health warnings ever have. So I thought I'd share it.


The average British smoker spends a breathtaking NINETY THOUSAND pounds on cigarettes in a lifetime, according to research released yesterday.

The full figure - £91,832.43 - works out at 373,302 cigarettes smoked or 18.665 packs.

In a year each smoker gets through 6,060 cigs at an average cost of £1,493.22

Around 80 per cent of the money will go to the Government in tax - £73,466 in an average lifetime.

The study by financial providers Clerical Medical also found that the average smoker puffs through 15.24 fags a day, costing £106.68 a week.

Ian Willmore, a spokesman for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said, "This survey shows just how wasteful and addictive smoking is. Not only could it kill you but it costs you enormous amounts of money to feed the habit."

Collectively, UK smokers are estimated to get through 72 MILLION cigs a year and send £17BILLION up in smoke.

Laid out in a line, all those cigarettes would stretch for more than four million miles, and circumnavigate the earth 154 times.

Clerical Medical Boss John Hiew said, "We all know about the health problems associated with smoking but we wanted to find the wealth implications associated with the habit. It's a staggering amount of money British smokers spend. If people put the money they spend on cigarettes into a savings plan they would probably live longer and could have an extra income of thousands of pounds a year."

The research also revealed that 83 per cent of the 3,000 smokers questioned in their survey had tried giving up at least three times.

A third admitted that they lasted only a couple of days, another third crumbled after two months, while 15 per cent managed a year.

The study also revealed that the biggest smokers lived in Northern Ireland, followed by Londoners and then those in the North West.

For the study a lifetime's smoking was based upon someone starting at 17 and continuing to 78 - if they live that long, of course.

So I did the math - I've been smoking for 15 years now, and although prices have gone up since I started £5 a packet is probably a pretty good average to work on, 1 pack of 20 a day, with the odd day when I've bought 2, 7 days a week, that adds up to £45 per week (if you allow for a couple of two pack days) not £106.68 as they claim in the survey, at an average of 15.24 fags a day that's less than a pack a day so to get to those costs you'd have to be paying £11.85 per pack! However it is still £45 per week, £2,340 per year, which means that I've spent £35,100 on cigs so far in my lifetime! Ouch! If I carry on smoking, and manage to live to 70 then my total (not allowing for any further price increase on cigs) will be £102,960 spent on cigarettes!

So it's 4.20 on Sunday afternoon, and I still haven't had one today. I have to be honest and say that a king sized hangover was the main motivation for not smoking this morning but as the day has worn on (and the hangover worn off) I thought I'd see how long I can go before I smoke. I have one solitary cigarette left from the brand new pack I took over the pub with me last night - can I last the day without smoking it?

I'm not going to claim that I'm giving up, or that I've given up (but you never know!) however those figures make you realise just how much money you waste on killing yourself!

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