Ten years getting healthier and richer

Monday 03 July 2017, 08:50 AM

Sam Barratt
Financial Journalist , Freelance

  • No-Smoking-Large

It's 10 years since the government made it illegal to smoke in an enclosed public place or workplace.

While some people still resent having to nip outside to have a fag, there's no denying the health benefits resulting from the ban.

Today, fewer people smoke, with many giving up as a result of the ban. In 2007, 21% of the population were smokers; today just 15.8% light up. In addition, 59% of us have never touched a single cigarette.   With fewer of us smoking, there have been significant implications for the nation's health. Just one year after the ban came into effect, researchers at the University of Bath estimated that the number of emergency admissions to hospital for heart attacks had fallen by 2.4% - equivalent to 1,200 fewer admissions. 

Kids' health has also improved with Scottish researchers reporting an 18% year-on-year reduction in the number of children hospitalised with asthma and a 10% decline in the premature birth rate.  

If you'd taken the ban as a cue to kick the habit, you'll have seen improvements in your health too. After a year, your risk of health disease is around half that of a person who smokes and after 10 years, you'll have halved your risk of lung cancer too.  

You'd be a lot wealthier today too. Back in 2007, the average price of a pack of 20 cigarettes was £5.33 according to Statista, compared to a price of £9.91 today. Assuming you smoked an average 12 cigarettes a day, and using the typical price each year, over the last 10 years you'd have saved more than £15,500 if you'd quit back in 2007. Ditch a 20 a day habit and that saving would be nearly £26,000. 

As well as damaging your health and wealth, smoking also affects your life insurance and other protection products. With a higher risk of having to make a claim, smokers pay more for cover. How much extra depends on your age, but you can expect to pay more than double if you're still a smoker at age 40 when you take out cover.

The good news is that if you already have cover and you give up smoking, insurers are usually happy to reward you by reducing your premiums. You'll need to be smoke-free for at least a year and the switch won't be automatic either. Some insurers allow you to simply switch to non-smoker rates, but others will require you to be re-underwritten to allow them to assess the risk fully. 

If you have kicked the habit, it's also worth checking what cover you have, especially if you have critical illness insurance with your life insurance. Older policies can be more generous in terms of the conditions they cover, so speak to your broker before rewarding yourself with cheaper premiums.  

Given up the fags? Want to know if you could save money on your life insurance?

Contact LifeSearch on 0800 316 3166 or visit its website at lifesearch.co.uk.   


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