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Carl Donnelly wants to make Stoptober pay

Smoking can be a very difficult habit to break, but the benefits, both on your health and your wallet, can be huge.

In fact, the average smoker could be netting more than a thousand pounds a year for quitting, an amount not to be sniffed at.

We asked stand-up comedian and podcaster Carl Donnelly – who is in the process of doing Stoptober himself – for his top tips on why now’s the time to stub out your cigarette and enjoy the benefits.

Carl Donnelly – how quitting can help you save

I’ve been a smoker for far too long – I'm 33 and have been smoking for over half of my life, so I hardly need reminding that it’s time to quit. It’s something I should have done a long time ago but this year I’ve got the perfect excuse – I’m working with Public Health England to support this year’s mass quitting campaign, Stoptober with a series of podcasts. I’m also doing Stoptober myself and so far I’m 10 days in.

Our reasons for deciding to quit smoking vary. For some it’s the money we will save – the average female smoker has 11 cigarettes a day, or 330 a month, which adds up to £136.79 a month and £1,641 a year. For the average male it’s 13 cigarettes a day which is 390 a month, that’s £161.66 a month and £1,940.00 a year.

That’s a lot of money.

When I decided to take part in Stoptober this year, I hadn’t even worked out how much my smoking was costing me financially. I’d been thinking more about the effects on my health. But having more money is definitely a powerful motivator and it’s got me thinking about what I could do with all that smoke-free cash.

What would you do with an extra £130.00 plus a month? Or £1,500.00 plus a year? I know some people make a point of working out exactly how much they spent on smoking and then transferring that amount every month into a separate account so that they can see the benefits of their quitting growing as the months pass. At the end of the first year you’d have enough for a fab’ holiday. Or a deposit for a new car.

 

My five tips to help you quit

Search Stoptober and sign up today to receive free and proven support by email, text and through the mobile phone app.

Don’t stop there though, to give yourself the best chance of making it 28 days smoke free, why not get prepared by following my simple tips below. 

As part of the series of podcasts. I’m doing for Stoptober, I’ve been talking to lots of different people about quitting. Some are medical experts, others are smoking cessation counsellors and others are just like you and me, trying to quit or previously smoked. I’ve gathered some of their advice and thoughts here to help us all.

The quit list

Start with a list of reasons why you want to quit smoking, work out how much money you’ll save or the ways your health will benefit. The list will not only reinforce your decision to quit for Stoptober, you’ll also find it a handy tool to refer to on those difficult days when you feel your cravings are close to getting the better of you.

In the bin!

To help you stay strong and resist temptation, throw away any last cigarettes, lighters or anything that reminds you of being a smoker. You can then make a clean smoke free start with no temptation.

Break your routines and be honest with yourself

Smoking is often a ritual associated with certain times in your daily routine so it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for some of the triggers that make you feel like having a cigarette.

So if, for example, if you used to have a cigarette after a meal, try having a cup of tea instead, or, if you take a cigarette break with a friend, why not go for a smoke-free walk? If you start your day with a coffee and a smoke, switch to herbal tea to help break the link.

Get moving!

Stay busy and turn to physical activity to combat your cravings. Even a ten-minute walk with the dog or a short spell tidying up the garden can help to take your mind of the urge to smoke and it’s good for you too. No dog or garden? Get yourself to the gym or the local swimming pool.

Tell friends and family

It’s really important to get as much support and encouragement as you can so make sure you tell those around you that you’re doing Stoptober and that you might need their help. Let them know how you’re feeling and use their encouragement to spur you on. Research shows that smokers are two thirds (67%) more likely to quit when their spouse stops smoking, and a third more likely to quit when a close friend (36%) or someone they work with (34%) stops, so why not quit with someone you know?

Remember even if you are using e-cigarettes to help you quit, Stoptober can give your quit attempt an extra boost.

To sign up to the nation’s biggest mass quit attempt, click here, search Stoptober online or visit smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober

This guest post is from Carl Donnelly and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the Money Advice Service.

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