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How much does smoking cost?

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How much are Brits spending on lighting up? To give financial motivation to those who are considering quitting smoking, we’ve totted up the costs to paint a clearer picture of how much smoking costs you.

To calculate this cost, we have used the average daily cigarette consumption as outlined in the Adult Smoking Habits in the UK: 2016 report created by the Office for National Statistics. In 2016, men smoked 12 cigarettes per day on average, compared to women’s 11. Over a year, these figures work out at 4,380 cigarettes for men and 4,015 cigarettes for women.

We then used 2016 data from Statista to establish what the UK’s most popular cigarette brands are, according to sales value. They are as follows:

  1. Sterling — £1.51 billion
  2. Mayfair — £1.05 billion
  3. Lambert & Butler — £788 million
  4. Marlboro — £782 million
  5. Richmond — £724 million
  6. John Player Special — £677 million
  7. Carlton — £541 million
  8. Silk Cut — £504 million
  9. Windsor — £462 million*

*Players were the sixth leading cigarette brand in the UK but have not been included in this research, due to the data for this brand being unavailable on mysupermarket.co.uk.

We then worked out the average price of a 20-pack box of cigarettes from each of the most popular brands at the four biggest UK supermarkets. The supermarkets selected were those with the highest market share according to Kantar Worldpanel, which are as follows:

  1. Tesco — 27.8%
  2. Sainsbury’s — 15.8%
  3. Asda — 15.3%
  4. Morrisons — 10.4%

Based on the above, we found that on average, a box of 20 cigarettes from each of these brands costs as follows (correct as of November 1st 2017):

  • Sterling Dual King Size — £8.24
  • Mayfair White King Size — £8.89
  • Lambert & Butler Original Silver King Size — £8.89
  • Marlboro Gold King Size — £10.36
  • Richmond Bright Blue Superkings — £8.89
  • John Player Special Bright Blue Superkings — £7.35
  • Carlton Superkings Red — £7.35
  • Silk Cut King Size Silver — £10.66
  • Windsor Blue JPS Superking Green — £7.89

So how much does the average British male and female smoker shell out each year on cigarettes?

 

Cigarette product Avg. expenditure by men per year** Avg. expenditure by women per year**
Sterling Dual King Size £1,804.56 £1,656.24
Mayfair White King Size £1,946.91 £1,786.89
Lambert & Butler Original Silver King Size £1,946.91 £1,786.89
Marlboro Gold King Size £2,268.84 £2,082.36
Richmond Bright Blue Superkings £1,946.91 £1,786.89
John Player Special Bright Blue Superkings £1,609.65 £1,477.35
Carlton Superkings Red £1,609.65 £1,477.35
Silk Cut King Size Silver £2,334.54 £2,142.66
Windsor Blue JPS Superking Green £1,727.91 £1,585.89
Avg. expenditure across all products researched £1,910.65 £1,753.61

 

**The average expenditure has been worked out per the cost of a 20-pack of each cigarette product, under the assumption that they will need to purchase a new pack even if their average yearly expenditure doesn’t calculate to a sum of 20. For example, if a smoker has 42 cigarettes per year, they would need to purchase 3 x 20 packs of cigarettes.

Cost in context

Instead of spending the cash on cigarettes, here’s what smokers could buy with the money they save, should they kick the habit:

  • A 49-inch Sony Bravia KD49XE9005 LED HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart Android TV can be purchased new from John Lewis for £1,199.
  • A PS4 Pro 1TB, an Xbox One X and a Nintendo Switch can be purchased new from GAME for a total of £1,069.97 for all three consoles.
  • A summer holiday for a family of four costs an average of £1,212, according to research from Asda Money, with this figure including flights, accommodation, food, clothes, phone data, and activities.
  • The average Brit spends £1,042 a year on clothes, according to the Great British Wardrobe Report commissioned by Ariel.
  • The average British household spends £753 on Christmas festivities, according to research carried out by com Money, with this figure including the costs to buy presents for friends and family, food and drink for the big day, partying and all of the festive decorations — including the Christmas tree.

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