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Next month, 13th March, is national no smoking day 2019. I remember as a child, watching Grease and thinking the girls were so cool with their cigarettes. I told my mum, "I'm going to smoke when I'm older".

As you can imagine my mum, not exactly keen on the idea, and forbade me from smoking, ever. I don't do well if I'm told I cannot do something. I'm a Taurus and it's most certainly a red flag to my inner bull. Needless to say, I started smoking when I turned 16.

Did you know

  • If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, that could be costing you around £3,500 per year (www.nhsinform.scot)
  • E-cigarettes can be a good route to start you on the road to becoming a non-smoker (www.cancerresearchuk.org)
  • E-cigarettes are potentially 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes (www.bhf.org.uk)

Smoking was strangely one of the reasons that me and Alan started dating. I had become friends with "the smokers" at college and he was one of them. One night he offered me a cigarette, and I knew he liked me. It was very old fashioned him lighting the cigarette for me and everything. I then proceeded to steal his shoe and run off; yep, I have moves.

One of our fondest memories is our first holiday to Greece. It was 2002, we were young, invincible, and the world was ours for the taking. Every night we would sit on the balcony, watch the sea, play Military Rummy and smoke. At the time, for me, nothing could quite beat a GnT and a cigarette. Good times.

Quite quickly we knew that we were going to be stuck together for a while; this year will be our 14th wedding anniversary. I knew at some point that we would have kids, and I never wanted to risk smoking whilst being pregnant. So, I put my foot down, we were both giving it up. I had my last cigarette on my 18th birthday party, I'd smoked for two years.

I was lucky to have support though my GP surgery. I visited a nurse who advised me on nicotine patches and did regular lung capacity checks to show how much they were improving. A big thing for me was the hand to mouth action, it had become second nature. So, my now ecstatic mum, helped by buying me a bottle of bubbles. Instead of sitting on the doorstep billowing smoke, there were lots of pretty bubbles floating around. Ok, this may not be for everyone, but I loved it :)

Boy Vaping

I've not used an e-cigarette, they weren't around when I smoked. But, they do fascinate me. It sometimes feels like you are in an old movie, clouds of smoke surround you like you are on an old train platform, and then you get walloped by a ridiculously strong smell of cherry.

I'm on the fence over the benefits of e-cigs. Hear me out. I think that e-cigs appear to be much better for your health, then traditional tobacco cigarettes. But, I don't think that they have been around long enough, for us to really know if they are "ok". Same as me, most insurers are a bit cautious over the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use. That's why many still class anyone that has used any form of nicotine in the last 12 months, as a smoker.

Vaping Device

But! There is a big point to make here, 'most' not 'all' insurers do that.

Insider Insight

  • There is one insurer currently in the UK that can class e-cig users as non-smokers, that includes nicotine use!
  • Smoker premiums are roughly double that of non-smokers.
  • The insurer that can offer non-smoker rates to e-cigarette users, will not be able to offer you insurance if you have medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, or a history of heart attack or stroke. Basically, if the insurer would need to speak with your GP to confirm your medical history, they cannot offer the insurance.
  • If you arranged insurance as a smoker and have been nicotine free for 12 months, review your cover! You may be able to save a lot on your premiums.

There are loads of myths and facts surrounding health and e-cig use. I think it's probably safe to say that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes. I think it's also fair to say that not smoking anything is better than using e-cigarettes. But if you are going to have guilty pleasure in life, an e-cigarette is probably quite low on the naughty scale.

A huge problem is that for every study that says e-cigarettes are better than smoking, there feels like there as many counteracting that claim. There are plenty of myths and facts and I have put together some key ones that stand out to me.

Facts

  • There is no "perfect" day to quit smoking. If you want to quit, don't wait until next Monday, or after the next sesh with the girls. Do it now.
  • Smoking really smells. I think it's worse for me as an ex-smoker, I can smell it a mile off. Clothes, breath, even shaking someone's hand, it stinks!
  • We all know it but it's worth repeating. Smoking greatly increases your risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
  • This is an actual addiction. It's a physical, mental and emotional addiction. You can overcome it, but you really need to want to.

Myths

  • If you stop smoking, you will have loads more spare cash. Not unless you put it away! Dear God, I just looked up my old brand, L&B, and its £10 for a pack of 20, it used to cost me £5!! Assuming you smoke 4 packs a week, over a month that's roughly £160. If you do give up, setup a standing order of £160 to a savings account each month. That's £1,920 a year!
  • E-cigarettes are safe. Maybe, but there is simply not enough data to claim this. It will be years before the long-term health effects of using e-cigs can be analysed. They are highly likely to be safer than traditional cigarettes, cigars and pipes, but it's still early days.

Life Insurance - Vapers, Vaping and E-Cigarettes

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