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Christmas is fast approaching and it’s an expensive time for everyone. But if you smoke – whether cigarettes or hand-rolled tobacco - have you ever considered what festive goodies it could pay for instead?

Fresh has been adding up the costs – and it is scary how they mount up – with up to £2,500 a year going up in smoke. This could pay for a festive family trip, your Christmas food shopping and all of your Christmas presents – and even a trip to Lapland!

Prices using a supermarket comparison website show how the cost of smoking stacks up day by day and week by week, even for someone buying cigarettes in a bulk pack of 5 x 20 priced at £49.52:

  • Someone smoking 10 cigarettes a day can expect to pay up to £1,807 a year, £150 a month and £34.75 a week. For a couple that means up to £3,614 a year, £300 a month and around £69.50 a week.
  • Someone smoking 14 a day can expect to pay up to £2,575 a year, £214 a month and around £49 a week. For a couple smoking that means £5,150 a year, £428 a month and £99 a week.

Look at what someone smoking 10 a day could save by quitting:

  • Feeling festive? One week’s savings of around £34 could help you treat the whole family to ice skating at the Centre for Life [Source: Life]
    • A week’s saving of around £34 could also buy a 10 item Christmas lunch for up to eight people [Source Aldi]
    • Two weeks savings of around £68 could buy Christmas jumpers for a family of four [Source: ASDA]
    • Looking for a festive day out? Three weeks’ savings of around £150 would pay for a family of four to visit Beamish and visit Santa’s grotto, go ice-skating and have some money left over to spend at the Beamish Bazaar. [Source: Beamish]
    • How about getting into the festive spirit with a family trip to the Pantomime with the monthly saving of £150 you’ll save from quitting? [Source: Sunderland Empire]
    • A month’s savings of around £150 would also pay for a family of four to have dinner with Santa at Fenwick’s Santa’s Supper Club. [Source Fenwick]
    • Two month’s savings of around £300 could pay for Christmas gifts for your loved ones.
    • If you fancy treating your friends or family to a two course festive meal, three weeks’ savings of around £102 will pay for up to five adults at a Vintage Inn, or two adults and four children with some money left over for drinks. [Source: Vintage Inn]
    • £1,807 saved in a year could pay for a four-day Christmas break for up to six people in a woodland lodge at Centre Parcs plus spending

*Dependent on date.*

And for couples the savings are even greater:

  • A couple smoking 10 a day can save just over £69 a week, which will buy four adult tickets for The Stand Comedy Club’s Christmas Special show. [The Stand Comedy Club]
  • Or you could treat the kids and take them to see The Snowman at Sage Gateshead as a family ticket for up to four will cost just under a week’s savings of £69. [Source: Sage Gateshead]
  • Looking to treat the family to Christmas dinner? A month’s savings of around £300 will pay for a three course Christmas Day lunch at a Toby Carvery pub plus drinks for up to four people. [Toby Carvery]

Fancy getting away with the kids? You can treat yourselves to a family trip to Kielder Winter Wonderland including 3 nights in a Heritage Lodge as well as tickets for the full-day experience for three months’ savings of £900. [Source: Kielder Winter Wonderland] *Dependent on date.*

  • If you’ve dreamed of taking the kids to Lapland to visit Santa Claus himself, five months savings of £1,500 could pay for a trip in December 2020.

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh, said: “At a time when stresses are often running high and people are feeling hard up, we want to let people know just how much better off they can be when they quit smoking. Stopping smoking has been shown to improve mood and help relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

“It can also feel like an instant pay rise, which can really help to take some of the pressure off.  All those savings could be put towards your Christmas gifts, the all-important food shop or your precious family experiences.

“But by quitting smoking, you could give your family the best present of all this Christmas, by instantly starting to improve your health and improving the odds you will be around for many more Christmas’s in the future. There are more ways to quit than ever before and we’re reminding people that’s it’s never too late to benefit.”

Switching to a less harmful form of nicotine delivery like vaping using an e-cigarette can also bring big savings compared to cigarettes. It’s estimated that by completely switching from smoking to vaping can mean you spending around a quarter of you might have spent on smoking. It is also much less harmful for your body than smoking tobacco.

Local stop smoking services can also boost the odds of success with all services in the North East welcoming people using electronic cigarettes to stop.

The Money Advice Service recommends setting a savings goal to help you stay motivated – so rather than smoking, think of that something you’d want to use that money for instead whether a holiday, a car, towards a deposit on a home or even to build up an emergency savings pot. Then each time you think about buying a pack of smokes, you can visualise what you’re giving up instead.

How much money could you save by stopping smoking?

Answer the two questions below and then click “Calculate” to see how much money you could save!

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Your savings

Please note that the figures above are simply an indication of how much you could save based on the cost of a packet of cigarettes and your daily intake.