I'm not a fan of public health campaigns: all these 5k runs, giving up booze/eating five (or is it ten?) plates of cabbage a day etc. To be honest, this far into civilisation we all know what is good and bad for us, don't we? And we don't want some patronising celeb telling us what to do either.
But Stoptober may be one of the few of these nanny-state campaigns I can handle. Because smoking is bloody awful and the evidence that it is bad for you is incontrovertible. Until 13 January 2003 I was a smoker, getting through at least 20 every day. I can't remember what eventually made me give up but I do know that doing so was really difficult. I used patches and willpower which, because at the time you could still smoke indoors, meant that I also gave up going out because I couldn't trust myself not to have a quick puff if I had a drink in the other hand. And to be honest, up until a few years ago I still really missed cigarettes. But then I don't miss the weird pain in my chest, the smelly clothes and the panic which I felt whenever I knew I couldn't light up for a few hours.
I also don't miss the cost: £10.80 for 20 Silk Cut from a supermarket (and a lot more from a corner shop, I guess). If I still smoked that would mean a bill of nearly £80 a week – more than I spend on food for the Boy and me. And then there are other costs. You pay more for insurance, for example: a 30-year old smoker would pay a third more for life insurance than a non-smoker. Health insurance will cost more too, and you might even pay more for home cover (because of the increased fire risk). If you've said you are a non-smoker, but have even had one cigarette, your insurance company could refuse any claim. And vaping can count as smoking too. There's one thing though: smokers get better annuity rates when they retire as their life expectancy is lower. Hardly enough to encourage you to light up, though, is it?
See our SMM guide to life insurance here.