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Smokers shortchanging their families over finances

Person holding a cigaretteSmokers who take out life insurance buy cover which is typically worth a quarter less than non-smokers, according to exclusive research by

The average amount of life insurance taken out by a non-smoker is just over £150,000. 

However, those who smoke insure their lives for just £112,000.

So it can be argued that people who smoke are putting their families' finances at risk through a lack of life insurance.

Family finances

The number of regular smokers with life insurance is also a cause for concern: only 38 per cent of them have cover, despite the health risks associated with the habit.

Matt Lloyd, head of life insurance at, said: "This reluctance among some smokers to protect their families' futures is particularly alarming.

"This is especially when you consider just how many smoking-related deaths take place in the UK each year."

30% of Brits smoke

The research found that 30 per cent of the UK population currently admits to being a smoker.

Of this group, two-thirds describe themselves as regular smokers while the rest say they use tobacco products only on social occasions.

The study also looked at the cost of funding a smoking habit. A poll of 2,000 Britons found that the average smoker goes through 24 cigarettes a week.

The same poll found that smokers spend an average of £13.50 on their weekly habit.

This is equal to roughly £58 a month, which is more than double the cost of an average smoker's life insurance premium.

Smokers pay more for life insurance

The cost of life insurance and other types of health cover is generally higher for smokers, as their habit is thought by providers to increase the risk of medical problems.

So given current financial pressures it is not surprising that many smokers undervalue themselves when setting life insurance limits or simply go without cover altogether.

Lloyd added: "We're aware that smokers pay more for life insurance than non-smokers.

"However, smokers undervaluing their net worth is not a sensible way to try and reduce monthly premiums.

"If you do smoke, you could save money on life insurance by quitting. Normally, you will be eligible for a cheaper life insurance policy once you have stopped smoking for a year."

"Now is as good a time to give up as any: with the nation rallying behind Stoptober, it's finally time to put out that cigarette and start thinking about the future."

UK smoking hotspots

Wales has the highest percentage of smokers in the country followed by central Scotland, while Northern Ireland has the lowest.

Click on the image below to make it bigger and view more information about the UK's smoking hotspots.

UK smoking hotspots teaser small

Lying to cut life insurance costs

Lloyd also warned against smokers lying when applying for life insurance in a bid to get cheaper premiums.

He said smokers who were tempted not to disclose their habit could find themselves with a policy that might not pay out.

Lloyd said: "If a smoker was to lie on their application and later die from a smoking-related complication there is a possibility that their policy will not pay out, potentially leaving their loved ones to face the consequences."

One in 10 people have stopped smoking for financial reasons, the study showed, while twice as many have quit over health concerns.


Thinking of quitting? is supporting the NHS's annual Stoptober campaign, which runs every October and offers support to those who are looking to kick the habit.

Click the link to find out more in over very own Stop Smoking hub.

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Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is the former personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris