Great reasons to give up smoking

Siski Green

Strengthen your resolve with some hard facts and good news

Save money fast

Stopping smoking saves you money – just two smoke-free days (at 20 a day), will save you around £14. That means you’re entitled to splash out on a takeaway or a new CD. But if you’re the kind of person who needs big goals to focus on, put it in the bank instead. Within one month you’ll have saved over £150, enough to give yourself a pretty good present. And that figure doesn’t include what you’ll save on dry-cleaning smoky clothes, cough medicines, stain-removing toothpaste, and so on.

Enjoy the energy boost

Just three days after smoking your last cigarette your body will have started recovering. Your lung function will have already improved, meaning your heart won’t need to pump quite as hard and fast as it did to keep your muscles supplied with oxygen-rich blood. This also means you should begin to feel more energetic.

Picture your lungs 

It’s difficult to imagine the damage you’re doing to your body by smoking, so see for yourself by logging on to where you’ll find images of what your lungs would look like if you continued to smoke. Warning: only for those with strong stomachs!

The grisly facts about smoking 

If you continue to smoke, there’s a 50% risk of your death being smoking-related. And smokers’ deaths are unlikely to be quick or painless. Lung cancer, for example, which usually strikes smokers aged over 50, can occur without any symptoms to begin with. As the cancer grows, you’ll suffer from a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain and you may cough up blood. The tumour then grows to affect your nervous system, causing paralysis of your vocal cords making it difficult to swallow or speak. Eventually the cancer attacks your bones causing crippling pain.

After 10 years of quitting, however, your risk of lung cancer is cut in half. So give up, and focus on all the things you’d miss out on if you didn’t – playing with your grandchildren, holidaying in the Pacific or simply spending more time in the garden.

Go for seven days without smoking and you’ll be £35.35 richer. Your circulation will be functioning far better and so you’ll find simple tasks such as climbing stairs, walking the dog or vacuuming less strenuous. You will also smell so much more pleasant to the rest of the non-smoking world.

Once you’ve spent a month without a cigarette, throw a party. This is a good way to reintroduce social events into your diary without risking a relapse – after all, you couldn’t light up at your “I’ve quit smoking” celebration, could you?

Save on your life insurance

If you’ve still got any doubts as to the risk to your health by smoking, look at your life insurance policy. As a smoker you’re paying far more than the rest. A survey conducted by a leading insurance brokers found that the average UK life insurance goes up by between 105-113% if you smoke. There’s a good reason for this – the insurance companies have spent a lot of time and money finding out likely causes of illness and death, and smoking puts you in a high risk category.

Stop smoking and look better

Giving up isn’t just about your health, your looks will improve too. Smoking affects your skin in such a way that medical experts can identify you as a smoker just by looking at a photograph. Dr Douglas Model, who coined the term ‘smoker’s face’ in an article published in the British Medical Journal in 1985, pinpointed these signs: lines radiating from the upper and lower lips, deep lines on the cheeks; gauntness, prominence of bony contours; grey skin colouring. These effects are visible irrespective of the patients’ ages.

When you’ve given up cigarettes for good, there’s a lot to be proud of. In 10 years’ time your risk of a heart attack will be the same as that of someone who has never smoked. And as a bonus, over those 10 years, without taking into account any increase in the price of cigarettes, you’ll have saved £18,432.50. Time to crack open a bottle of bubbly...

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.