IF you have given up smoking as part of the Stoptober initiative, you could be saving more than just your health.

If you haven’t stopped yet, the habit may be costing far more than you realise.

The physical damage done by smoking is well known. It is the country’s biggest cause of illness and premature death.

Despite the 10-year ban on lighting up in public places, nearly a quarter of Scots adults continue to smoke – a higher proportion than elsewhere in the UK – and close to half of them will die as a result of conditions it causes.

Almost a fifth of all deaths in Scotland are tobacco related, and in the 35-69 age group, they reduce the victims’ expected lifespan by an average of 22 years.

Across the UK as a whole, smoking is to blame for around 80 per cent of deaths from lung cancer, bronchitis and emphysema, more than a quarter of all cancer deaths and about 14 per cent of those from heart disease.

In total, nicotine addiction is responsible for more than 100,000 unnecessary fatalities every year – and treating smokers wastes the NHS over £2 billion annually.

But it is not just the health service that benefits financially when people stop. Smoking day savings fund, a deposit for a house or a pension pot.

Over 25 years, a 10-a-day smoker would have set fire to almost £44,000; for a 20-a day smoker, it would be twice that. For a household with two such smokers, or someone getting through 40 a day, the total would be nearer to £175,000 – £11,000 more than it currently costs to buy the average Scottish house.

According to Gocompare.com, smokers’ lower life expectancy means they also pay considerably 10 cigarettes a day costs about £34 a week, which adds up to a shocking £1,750 a year. A 20-a-day habit costs close to £3,500 a year.

For a basic rate taxpayer, giving up would be equivalent to receiving a pay rise of between £2,200 and £4,375.

That money could clear debt; pay for food shopping, several holidays or a second-hand car, or create the beginnings of a rainy more for life insurance, as they are far more likely to make a claim during the policy term.

Matt Sanders, the website’s life cover spokesman, said: “Insurers will consider a number of different risk factors when calculating life insurance premiums, including smoking.” Smokers up to the age of 40 will pay as much as 113 per cent more for their policy, or 83 per cent on average, than non-smokers.

And the older you are when you take out cover, the greater the additional cost. Smokers aged 40 and over are likely to face premiums more than double those of non-smokers.

A 25-year-old taking out a £200,000 25-year level-term policy would typically pay a monthly premium of £6.87, giving a total policy cost of £2,061, while an equivalent smoker might be charged £10.24, increasing the cost to £3,072.

By the age of 40, the average costs would have risen to £16.04 a month – £4,812 over 25 years – for a non-smoker, and £34.19, or £10,257, for a smoker, making a gap of £5,445.

But giving up can slash your bill for cover. Mr Sanders explained: “Generally, if you’ve used tobacco or nicotine replacement products in the last 12 months, and that includes e-cigarettes and vaping, you’ll be considered a smoker, and for some insurers smokers must have given up for five years before being classed as a non-smoker.”

After that period, there should be no difference in cost. So if you already have a policy and have given up, be sure to inform your provider so it can reduce your premiums.

If you aren’t happy with the saving it offers, shop around for alternative cover.

Mr Sanders added: “Life insurance can be one of the most important investments you can make for your family’s future. There are ways to cut the cost of premiums without compromising the level of cover. One of the most beneficial ways – for you and for your family – is to help yourself to get healthy.”

Because of their better health record, non-smokers also pay considerably less for other types of insurance. A smoker might be charged twice as much for a critical illness policy, which pays out on diagnosis of a range of serious conditions, and they could be refused cover altogether.

Income replacement and health insurance would also cost more. But don’t consider lying about your habit, as your policy would be cancelled immediately the truth came to light. According to online estate agent Yopa, smoking can also ha

ve a serious impact on the saleability of your home. The site says up to 50 per cent of viewers would think twice about buying from a smoker and 25 per cent wouldn’t ever do it, no matter how much they liked the property.

Even if you try to conceal the effects with air freshener, it says smoking can devalue your home by up to 29 per cent.

Meanwhile, cigarettes still remain the largest single cause of house fires. If you are still smoking, find out about the help available to stop – and discover how much it could save you – at nhs.uk/smokefree.