MANCHESTER, England, March 7 /PRNewswire/ --

- A Staggering GBP120,000 Spent on Smoking Cigarettes

Recent research from leading financial services provider, Co-operative Insurance (CIS) has found that the average British smoker spends just over GBP2,000 a year funding their smoking habit - that's a breathtaking GBP121,000 in a lifetime!

Taking into account that on average a single person smokes 436,800 cigarettes from 21,840 packets purchased, CIS is urging consumers to finally kick the habit and save some money this National No Smoking Day (12 March).

In addition to the money saved by stopping smoking - and the obvious benefits enjoyed through improved health - it can knock over a third(ii) off premiums for life, critical illness and income protection insurances. This is because medical evidence proves that smoking increases the risk of serious illnesses and exacerbates existing conditions.

Fiona Jackson, Head of Protection at Co-operative Insurance said: "Giving up smoking can save people a significant amount of money as well as hopefully bringing a longer and better quality of life. Someone who is able to give up an addictive habit like smoking can certainly take charge of their own financial destiny and make adequate financial provisions for their future.

"Co-operative Insurance provides attractive protection products to both smokers and non-smokers, though our customers will definitely reap the rewards if they can kick the habit and no longer watch their money go up in smoke."

According to official statistics, smoking is more common in men (26 per cent) compared to 23 per cent of women.

Worryingly, smoking causes thirty per cent of all cancer deaths (including at least 84 per cent of lung cancer deaths), 17 per cent of all heart disease deaths and at least 80 per cent of deaths from bronchitis and emphysema.

The health benefits of stopping smoking start almost immediately:(i)


- 20 minutes: Blood pressure and pulse return to normal

- 8 hours: Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood are halved, oxygen levels in the blood return to normal

- 24 hours: Carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body and the lungs start to clear out the build up of tar

- 48 hours: There is no nicotine left in the body. Taste and smell are greatly improved

Although it is difficult to imagine, should the worst happen Co-operative Insurance Critical Illness Cover provides an affordable method to help cope with the financial and emotional implications of many serious illnesses. It is available with optional life cover or as a stand-alone policy for those already with sufficient life assurance. The policy pays a tax-free lump sum to customers surviving 28 days after the diagnosis of one of the specified illnesses/conditions, or immediately following diagnosis if the cover is combined with life assurance.

Customers wanting more information about Co-operative Insurance products and services should call the Customer Contact Centre on +44(0)8457-46-46-46.

Notes to Editors:

- ISDN facilities are available for broadcast media interviews

- (i)Figure based on average price of a packet of 20 cigarettes at GBP5.55 (source: Tobacco Manufacturers Association) smoked per day for 60 years. Along with the life expectancy of the average person in the UK being 78.5 years (source: National Statistics).

- (ii)38% - percentage based on single male aged 30 level term assurance cover, GBP100,000 over a 25 year term (combining critical illness and life assurance cover).

For further information contact: Natalie Housby, Co-operative Financial Services Press Office, Tel: +44(0)161-827-5619, Fax: +44(0)161-832-2751, e-mail :