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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 00:37 GMT 01:37 UK
'Hidden' smoking costs revealed
Smokey bar
Hidden smoking costs include higher insurance premiums
Smokers spend 676 a year on their habit, before the cost of cigarettes is even taken into account, a study says.

Buying cleaning products, life insurance and tailored products such as toothpaste help to bump up the hidden costs, the NHS Smoking Helpline said.

The research said an average 20-a-day smoker can expect to shell out 2,500 a year in total.

Smokers' lobby group Forest branded the research a waste of money for stating the obvious.

HOW SMOKING HITS THE POCKET
Personal hygiene - 199.95
Cleaning, repairing and replacing - 212.68
Other costs, including insurance premiums - 263.33
20 cigarettes a day - 1825.00
TOTAL - 2501.29

The research, carried out by the helpline, showed personal hygiene costs for lotions, potions and medications that treat and disguise the effects of smoking accounted for about 200 of the annual bill.

The research found that although many of the items were also used by non-smokers, the quantity and price of the products used by smokers was greater.

They included products like smoker's toothpaste, cough sweets, breath freshener, hand-care cream for stained fingers and lip balm.

Meanwhile, the price of tackling burns, stains and odours arising from smoking was estimated at more than 200.

This included extras such as dry cleaning bill and treating cigarette burns in furniture.

Other costs highlighted by the helpline included the increased energy bills associated with ventilating smoky rooms - an extra 10% on a normal bill according to estimates.

Finances

Even the effect on sexual health was taken into account by the researchers - with one prescription of Viagra being priced at 6.65.

Also noted was the premium increases for smokers taking out health and life insurance. One insurance company said smokers' life insurance premiums would on average be a third higher than those calculated for non-smokers.

NHS Smoking Helpline adviser Indrani Paul said the study showed as well as harming health, smoking hit finances.

"As well as costing you your health, smoking makes a huge dent in your finances - in many more ways than you might at first realise.

"It seems that, on top of the cost of cigarettes, smokers pay out more than an extra third of the cost on related expenses.

"The conservative total figure we have come up with represents well over 10% of the average national salary, which is a huge amount to spend on smoking and also a big incentive to quit.

"Putting this money into a savings scheme could help you through retirement or see your children through university years and beyond."

But Neil Rafferty, of Forest, said: "Equally, non-smokers spend money on all sorts of trivial things to support their lifestyle, especially snacks that smokers do not.

"However, I think it is disgraceful that the NHS is spending money on this sort of research to state what is obvious.

"It is fine for them to tell smokers about the dangers of their habit, but not on what they should be spending their money on."


SEE ALSO
Up in smoke and down the drain
21 Mar 00 |  UK News

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