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Welsh Smokers Encouraged to ‘Switch, Quit and Save’

A new campaign has been created to help ease the financial pressures of smoking. The ‘Switch, Quit and Save’ campaign has been launched to highlight how stopping smoking can not only improve personal health, but can also improve personal finances.

The campaign has been launched by the tobacco control organisation ASH Cymru, a charity that offers help and support to smokers across Wales.

According to the charity, Welsh smokers face significant costs due to smoking, which becomes apparent when taking the high costs of cigarettes into consideration.

According to ASH Cymru, smoking 20 a day could be costing around £84 per week, or £360 per month. The price could also increase depending on brand.

Based off these estimates, a 20 a day smoker could save upwards of £4000 a year.

The new campaign seeks to highlight these savings amidst the rising costs of living. Through highlighting these costs the campaign seeks to add financial wellbeing to the already long list of benefits of becoming smoke-free.

While the costs of smoking remains high, the campaign signposts free stop smoking services and cheaper alternatives. Notably, the campaign encourages smokers to seek free support from the national stop smoking service ‘Help Me Quit’.

The service offers free expert support, free stop smoking medication (worth up to £250), and weekly sessions with a dedicated stop smoking advisor. The support can be given face-to-face or over the phone, and is available to all smokers in Wales.

In addition, the campaign highlights that free nicotine inhalers can be accessed through many pharmacies across Wales.  The campaign also flags the benefits of switching to shop bought nicotine patches or gum: which can be cost effective when used to help quit smoking.

The campaign also marks the health and financial benefits of switching to other tobacco alternatives, such as e-cigarettes. According to the national survey of Wales, e-cigarettes remain the most popular quitting tool in Wales. In 2019, 76% of current Welsh vapers marked that they used this method to help quit smoking.

According to ASH Cymru, vaping can be seen as a less harmful alternative to smoking in the short to medium term. While the charity does not recommend their use to children or never smokers, it marks that vaping can be seen as a holding ‘a fraction’ of health risks of smoking, while also holding a fraction of the cost.

To compliment the campaign, ASH Cymru has teamed up with Public Health Wales to create information resources. Resources include a fact sheet designed for financial advisors when discussing the financial costs of smoking. The new fact sheet will be used within Money Advice Services at Cardiff Council, with the aim to:

  • Highlight the health and financial benefits of going smoke-free.
  • Highlight cheaper alternatives.
  • Signpost to free stop-smoking support in Wales, such as the ‘Help Me Quit’ service: which can improve quit success up to 4 times.

Suzanne Cass, ASH Cymru’s CEO, spoke about the merits of the new campaign. She said:

“As the cost of living becomes an increasing concern for everyone in Wales, our new campaign offers a way to ease the financial burden of tobacco for many smokers.

‘Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, and the new campaign marks quitting’s financial benefits too.

‘The new campaign raises these benefits, in a bid to show that many smokers can pocket the difference of going smoke-free this winter”.

If you are interested in finding more about the campaign, more information can be found at: ash.wales.