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Stub out and save

March 12, 2008

It’s “national no smoking day”, and stubbing out could help your wealth as well as your health. The 1.1 million Britons who quit a year ago have collectively saved more than 1 billion pounds by not feeding their nicotine habit, according to Yorkshire Bank. Meanwhile, the 13 million people who’ve carried on puffing since “no smoking day” last March have seen almost 12.5 billion pounds-worth of potential savings go up in smoke.

“It’s all too easy for long term smokers to forget just how expensive their habit actually is, but those smoking just 10 cigarettes a day could easily save almost 1,000 pounds during the course of a year,” says Gary Lumby, Yorkshire Bank’s head of retail. “By putting the money they’d normally spend on cigarettes in an ISA (individual savings account) or high interest savings account, smokers will soon see those savings adding up, particularly if there is more than one smoker in the household.”

And there are more savings to be made. Insurance companies consider ex-smokers to be ‘non-smokers’ a year after they have given up. And that could see your life and critical illness cover premiums fall by 50 percent. The monthly premium with Norwich Union for a 60-year-old male smoker wanting 100,000 pounds worth of life cover over 20 years is 181.30 pounds, while a non-smoker of the same age will pay just 84.30 pounds — 1,164 pounds per year less — according to figures from price comparison Web site Moneynet.co.uk.

In addition to the financial benefits, there’s a long list of other good reasons to kick the habit — having more energy and looking and feeling younger as the premature ageing effects of smoking are stopped in their tracks. Those who give up should also have lower stress levels, whiter teeth and an improved sense of taste and small, according to the “no smoking day” Web site.

But, as people addicted to the dreaded weed will no doubt testify, it’s a hard habit to break. And they can take some comfort in one little-known benefit to smoking. People with medical conditions and those who are likely to suffer poor health — such as smokers, the obese or those with a history of poor family health — generally achieve higher annuity rates. Their life expectancy might be shorter, but their pension pot will buy them a higher annual income in retirement.

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