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UK Smokers Burning A Hole In Their Pockets

23rd April 2008

  • UK smokers have lost out on over £12.5 billion of savings in the past year
  • Those who quit 12 months ago have collectively saved over £1 billion
  • Residents in the North East are the heaviest smokers in the UK, accounting for £1.3 million of lost savings

UK smokers who’ve carried on puffing since ‘National No Smoking Day’ in March last year have seen almost £12.5 billion1 of potential savings go up in smoke.


More than 13 million people2 in the UK have continued to smoke since the last ‘National No Smoking Day’. This is despite the ban on smoking in public places in England which came into force on 1st July 2007.

However according to research by Yorkshire Bank, the 1.1 million3 who stubbed out last March have saved over £1 billion in the past twelve months4 – enough to pay for 200 new cancer care units or fund almost 22,000 specialist cancer care nurses.


Gary Lumby, Yorkshire Bank’s head of retail, said: “It’s all too easy for long term smokers to forget just how expensive their habit actually is, but those smoking just ten cigarettes a day could easily save almost £1,0006 during the course of a year. By putting the money they’d normally spend on cigarettes in an ISA or high interest savings account, smokers will soon see those savings adding up, particularly if there is more than one smoker in the household.”


Cigarette Capital of the Country

In total, around 47 billion cigarettes were sold in the UK over the past 12 months7. The North East has the highest percentage of smokers in the UK, with over 10% of their residents spending a total of £1.3 million on cigarettes each year. The lowest total cigarette spend in the country can be found in the West Midlands, where 8% of the population currently spend £1 million on their smoking habit. (A full regional breakdown of percentage of smokers and amount spent on cigarettes can be found in notes to editors below.)


Good reasons to give up
In addition to the financial benefits, there is a long list of good reasons to give up smoking.  Those who commit to kicking their habit on this year’s ‘National No Smoking Day’ (12th March) can look forward to having more energy, as well as looking and feeling younger as they stop the premature ageing effects of smoking in their tracks. They will also have lower stress levels, whiter teeth and an improved sense of taste and smell.


Non smokers lead a richer life

While the health benefits of becoming a non smoker are obvious, many smokers won’t be aware of the additional financial benefits they can look forward to. Smokers who decide to quit will not only dramatically cut their chances of developing smoking related illnesses – they’ll also cut their insurance costs too.


Gary Lumby said: “Smokers will soon find it’s not just the money they’d normally spend on a packet of cigarettes they’re saving - there are other savings to be had as well. Non smokers can expect to pay far less for life and health insurance and in some cases could even see a cut in the cost of their home insurance with the reduced risk of fires in the home.”


Notes to Editor

Amount spent on cigarettes by UK population (lost savings)
Estimated UK population – 60,776,238 (
Percentage of UK residents currently smoking - 22% (Office for National Statistics)
UK residents who smoke = 13,370,772
Amount spent per year by 10 a day smoker = £12,459,420,180.40


Source: Cancer Research UK -


1.1 Million Smokers Quit On No Smoking Day 2007 -

Amount saved in the UK by those giving up since No Smoking Day 2007

Number of smokers who gave up since No Smoking Day 2007 = 1.1 million

Average price of 10 cigarettes = £2.56 (source: ASH)

Average saving for 10 a day smoker, £2.56 x 7 days per week x 52 weeks per year = £931.84

Amount saved in total, 1,100,000 x 931.84 = £1,025,024,000


Approximately £5 million could pay for a stand alone 24-bed inpatient and day palliative care unit, while £46,696

would pay to train a Macmillan nurse for a year –

Average yearly saving for 10 a day smoker

Saving based on 10 cigarettes smoked per day, at average cost of £2.56.

2.56 x 7 days in week x 52 weeks in year = £931.84


47 million cigarettes sold in the year to January 26, 2008 - Nielsen Scantrack survey of till sales representing 74,000 outlets around Britain


Regional smoking figures, prevalence and average spend per region – Cancer Research UK


Health benefits of quitting provided by


Region % of population who smoke Amount spent (£)
North East 10.58 1,318,206,655
Scotland 9.90 1,233,482,598
South West 9.56 1,191,120,569
Yorkshire and Humber 9.38 1,168,693,613
East Midlands 9.38 1,168,693,613
North West 9.19 1,145,020,715
East of England 8.53 1,062,788,541
South East 8.44 1,051,575,063
Wales 8.44 1,051,575,063
West Midlands 8.16 1,016,688,687

Source: Cancer Research UK


About Yorkshire Bank
Yorkshire Bank was founded in 1859 in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Yorkshire Bank has 190 retail branches, a strong personal customer base and a growing business capability in the North of England and the Midlands. Yorkshire Bank is a trading name of Clydesdale Bank plc, a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group of companies. Yorkshire Bank joined the Group in 1990. In 2006, Yorkshire Bank was voted the UK's 'Best Business Bank' by the Forum of Private Business.


For more media information contact:

Carol Young     Yorkshire Bank    0800 066 5998   07764 975 460

Alison Puente     Yorkshire Bank  0113 807 2701

Diane Roskell / Kelly Gough / James Hickman Ptarmigan Consultants  0113 242 1155

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