General Health Wednesday March 14, 2012

Bin the cigarettes for a longer life and a fuller wallet

There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that more people are aware of the health risks of smoking, and so less people are deciding to light up. NHS statistics show that in 21 per cent of adults in England were smokers in 2011, a big drop from 39 per cent in 1980. The bad news is that smoking is still just as hazardous to your health as it ever was, and it’s become more and more expensive to do so. As well as paying out extortionate amounts for cigarettes, smokers are often finding that their life insurance quotes are giving them significantly higher prices due to their lifestyle. The solution? Stop smoking, live longer, save money.

Be good to yourself

The health hazards of smoking are well covered and for regular smokers can be seen whenever you look at a packet of cigarettes, so I won’t go over those again. Rather than looking at the bad stuff that happens when you light up, instead think of the good stuff that happens when you decide not to.

A typical man who decides to quit smoking at age thirty will add about ten years to his life. Think of it as an instant life upgrade for being good to yourself. Even if you decide to quit at age sixty, you can still add on about three years. A note to the non-smokers, you can’t use this as a trick to live an extra decade by smoking a single cigarette and then 'quitting'. It doesn’t work like that.

Not smoking is a lot cheaper than smoking

How much do you spend on a packet of cigarettes? How many cigarettes do you smoke a day? A twenty-a-day smoker spends about £2,000 on cigarettes a year, which means that kicking the habit gives you enough spare cash to go on a holiday or two, buy a new car or go to the cinema every single day. The cost of smoking is steadily increasing as higher prices are being used to discourage people from lighting up, so quitting sooner rather than later will save you even more money in the future.

Live long and prosper

If you’ve taken out life insurance, quitting smoking could have a very positive impact on your policy. Life insurance companies work out their prices based on risk, and part of that is life expectancy. If you’re a smoker, your life expectancy is shorter than usual. To an insurer, this sees you as a higher risk (because they’re more likely to be paying out earlier) and so your life insurance premium will be higher than most. Once you’re classed as a non-smoker, which is when you go for twelve months without cigarettes or any nicotine-replacement, you are seen as a lower risk and so your life insurance premium will drop. Everyone’s a winner.

All this makes giving up smoking so easy. I know that it takes a tremendous amount of willpower to kick the habit, and the road isn't an easy one. Just remember that smoking is just a habit, and habits can be broken and replaced with new ones. You’ll be able to take it one day at a time and keep yourself motivated enough to quit for good. Since today is No-Smoking Day, what better time to start?

This guest blog was written by Jamie Gibbs from the life insurance comparison site, Confused.com.

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