Smokers could save up to £5k a year – Stop Smoking London urges smokers to count the real costs and get help to stop


Stopping smoking in January will not only save your health it will also put thousands of pounds back in your pocket in time for next Christmas, is the message to smokers from Stop Smoking London.

At the same time smokers are being reminded that they are three times as likely to quit successfully with the support of their local stop smoking service than if they try to stop smoking on their own, giving them more happy new years with their loved ones.

Following tax increases in 2021, a 20-a-day smoker in the UK is paying between £9.73 to just over £13.60 a day on cigarettes, depending on the brand.

With one in three smokers rolling their own, the daily spend on loose tobacco has also seen an increase of 6% since October. Smokers who quit hand rolled tobacco or smoke fewer than 20-a-day could be saving more than £2,000 a year, rising to £4,964 for those who smoke 20-a-day of a more expensive brand.

Though they may be cheaper, hand rolled tobacco still exposes smokers to a toxic mix of 7,000 chemicals, increasing risks of cancer and impacting cardiovascular health. Loose tobacco smokers who ‘save’ on filters are also inhaling more nicotine, increasing dependency and more tar, which contains the harmful chemicals found in tobacco and leads to lung cancer, emphysema, and cardiovascular disease.

Dr Somen Banerjee, Co-Chair and Smoking Cessation Lead of the London Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said: “Many of us will have made new year’s promises to ourselves, to eat better, get fitter, stop smoking. January is the perfect time to quit, for your health, your family and your wallet.

“It can be hard to quit on your own, but you don’t have to. Your local stop smoking service is the best place to start and will provide you with the tools you need to help you stop smoking for good.”

Eugenia Lee, a GP from South London said: “The health benefits of stopping smoking are immediate and improve with time. After just 8 hours your oxygen levels are recovering and harmful carbon monoxide in the blood is reduced by half. Fast forward to 72 hours and your bronchial tubes begin to relax, breathing becomes easier and your energy levels increase.

“By this time next year your risk of heart attack will have halved compared to a smoker. After 15 years this risk is the same as someone who has never smoked, increasing your chances of being here for your loved ones for longer. As well as feeling healthier you will also feel happier, research suggests that people who have quit for a year are happier than those who continue to smoke.”

The high cost of cigarettes and the desire to be there for his sons when they are older is what drove father of two and care navigator John Driscoll (37) to stop smoking three years ago.

“I was on 40 a day and smoked from when I was 13. My job is to support rough sleepers, specifically in Lambeth, to deal with the challenges and barriers that are put in front of them. This includes support in accessing services to improve their health and wellbeing, including accommodation, drug, alcohol and smoking cessation services.

“I just thought enough is enough. I have been homeless myself in the past and it felt wrong to be helping people with their addictions while I was there with two packets of fags in my pocket every day.

“It is saving me £110 a week. £110 a week over three years – that’s over £17,000. There were a few of us who wanted to quit and so with the support of my colleagues I switched to vaping. I now spend around £25 every two months or so. I feel so much healthier, I can fly up stairs or escalators, whereas before I’d get half-way up and be out of breath.

“With the money I’ve saved I’ve been able to go on holidays and save money for my boys for when they are older. They are 12 and nine now but when my boys hit 18 there will be money in the bank for them. They will be able to see what I have done, for them.”

Thirty-a-day smoker Chris Nixon (61) stopped smoking in May 2020 following a heart attack, having spent half his life as a smoker.

“If you’ve had a heart attack you live with the thought that it’s probably going to happen again which is not great. I have had to deal with a lot of anxiety, particularly in the beginning. I have spoken to a psychologist, it is wearing away now, but it is still there.

“If you are a smoker I would say: quit. Give it a try, take the help that is available. It could mean that you are around for longer, for your loved ones. My heart is not back to what it was before, there is certainly some damage there. If you’re still smoking, I would advise you to quit. Just do it, sooner rather than later.”

Smokers who want to find out more about the support available are urged to visit the Stop Smoking London website at Here you can also search for your local stop smoking service which provides free, personalised, one-to-one support to help you quit.

Alternatively, you can start a web chat or call the helpline on 0300 123 1044. Both services are available 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 4pm at weekends.