Smokers urged to 'swap fags for swag'

By on 08/03/2013 in Cllr Bedser, News

Brummies who smoke 20-a-day could save over £2,500 in just 12 months if they quit the deadly habit.

Now thousands of smokers across the city are being encouraged to 'swap fags for swag' and consider the financial benefits of quitting this month on the 30th anniversary of No Smoking Day (13 March)

In Birmingham around 1 in 5 adults smoke, equating to around 185,000 smokers. But national research shows two thirds want to quit.

And, in addition to the massive health benefits, one of the major incentives for smokers to quit is the huge financial cost of smoking cigarettes.

The table below outlines how much smokers could save over the first two smoke-free years, if they smoke 5, 10, 15 or 20 cigarettes a day.

5-a-day 10-a-day 15-a-day 20-a-day
1 week £12 £25 £37 £49
1 month £53 £106 £160 £213
6 months £320 £639 £958 £1,277
12 months £639 £1,278 £1,916 £2,555

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, is himself a former smoker and quit a 10-a-day habit 17 months ago. He has since saved £1,800.

Cllr Bedser said: “By far the biggest reason to quit smoking is for the good of your health but we also know that one of the biggest incentives comes from considering the real amount of money smokers spend on cigarettes.

“By tallying up the exact amount of money that could be saved, smokers can work towards an actual goal - be it a new pair of shoes, a family trip to the cinema or a dream holiday.

“No Smoking Day provides the perfect opportunity for people to join hundreds of people across Birmingham who are also attempting to quit on the same day.

“As a former smoker myself I know that's easier said than done but giving up this deadly habit increases your chances of a long, healthy life and give you an immediate financial boost.”

Every year over 4,500 people die in Birmingham from a smoking related disease.

Smoking is directly linked with Birmingham's three biggest killers, and is directly attributable to:

  • 1 in 4 of all cancers,
  • 1 in 5 deaths from cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke),
  • 1 in 3 of all deaths from respiratory disease

But there is hope if you want to quit. Last year public health campaigns in the city helped over 10,000 people quit - many of them on No Smoking Day.

For friendly, expert advice and support on how to quit smoking, call 0800 052 5855 free or text ‘QUIT’ to 80800.

Calculate how much money you could save if you quit today:


For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

Notes to editors:

Quitting smoking has been shown to have significant health benefits. Research has reported that a smoker who quits by the age of 30 years can increase their life expectancy by 10 years and quitting at the age of 50 halves the risk of smoking related mortality .

Treating diseases caused by smoking is estimated to cost the NHS around £5.2 billion every year equating to about 5.5% of all NHS expenditure.

Smoking causes significant economic burden both in terms of increased health expenditure and cost to the Birmingham economy in the form of absenteeism, working days lost and premature retirement. Premature deaths from smoking is estimated to cost the Birmingham economy £24m each year.

Providing NHS Stop Smoking Services is just one approach to reducing the number of smokers in Birmingham. Through the leadership of Councillor Bedser, the city has a reinvigorated a successful Tobacco Control Alliance that brings together key partners from across the city to tackle tobacco-related issues. The 2011/12 tobacco control action plan focuses on work around reducing uptake of smoking by young people, reducing access to counterfeit tobacco and maintaining and creating smokefree environments.

No Smoking Day merged with the British Heart Foundation in 2011. The annual No Smoking Day campaign, which is now in its 30th year, inspires and helps smokers who want to quit, and is supported by an alliance of UK health bodies and charities. For more information about the No Smoking Day campaign visit or for more on the BHF visit

Smokers can visit, an online hub full of information and tips on how to quit.

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