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National No Smoking Day UK 2024

National No Smoking Day is celebrated on the second Wednesday of March every year in the UK. On this day, organisations across the UK come together to raise awareness of the health risks of smoking and to promote a smoke-free lifestyle.

Quitting smoking can significantly improve your overall health, as smoking has been linked to the diagnosis of many serious medical conditions. This includes conditions like cancer, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and lung disease (e.g. COPD).

Smokers will also pay higher prices for policies like life insurance, as insurance companies will view them as being a ‘higher risk’ for needing to claim. Smokers can significantly reduce the cost of their life insurance by quitting smoking and by speaking to a smokers life insurance specialist.

A picture of a stopwatch

60-Second Summary – National No Smoking Day UK 2024

National No Smoking Day happens annually on the second Wednesday of March to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and to promote a smoke-free lifestyle.

Smoking can cause many health issues and increases the risk of developing serious medical conditions like cancer. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quitting smoking can add as many as 10 years to your life expectancy.

  • Quitting smoking offers numerous health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, improving lung function, and enhancing your overall quality of life.
  • The NHS recommends various methods to help you to quit smoking, including using nicotine replacement therapies or vapes (e-cigarettes)
  • The UK government has introduced measures like the smoke-free generation initiative, aiming to make England smoke-free by 2030.
  • If you are a smoker, you can save money on your life insurance policy by quitting or cutting back on how much you smoke. A medical life insurance specialist can offer free advice about life insurance and smoking, and will be able to find the best quotes and policies for you.

National No Smoking Day was started in 1984 to highlight the negative impact of smoking on your health. This day was used to encourage smokers to quit, sharing tips for how to start their journey to a smoke-free life.

Many public health organisations and charities still use this awareness day to encourage people who smoke to quit or cut back. This includes organisations like the NHS, as well as charities like the British Heart Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Smoking can have a drastic impact on your health, which has been highlighted in this video from the NHS. Here, Donna shares her story about how she began and ultimately quit smoking.

Donna’s Story – the benefits of quitting smoking

National No Smoking Day takes place in March every year, usually on the second Wednesday of the month. This year National No Smoking Day 2024 falls on the 13th of March 2024.

How to get involved in UK National No Smoking Day 2024

There are many very easy ways to show your support for National No Smoking Day 2024. This could be as simple as raising awareness on social media, using hashtags like #NoSmokingDay2024, #QuitForGood or #Smoke-free.

Other ways to get involved include:

  • Committing to quitting – If you are a smoker, you can view this day as the starting point for your journey to quitting or reducing the amount that you smoke or vape.
  • Share your story – If you have already quit, sharing your story online or in person might inspire others to do the same.
  • Support your friends, family and co-workers – If you know someone who is trying to quit, encourage them and offer to be a support system for them.

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According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), some of the main benefits for quitting smoking are:

  • Reduces the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease
  • Reduces lung inflammation
  • Improves cholesterol levels (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol)
  • Enhances health and quality of life
  • Can add as many as 10 years to your life expectancy
  • Can benefit people already diagnosed with conditions like heart disease or COPD
  • Helps you to save money and reduces financial costs on health services
  • Lowers the risk of 12 types of cancer
  • People of any age can benefit from quitting smoking

In the UK, the NHS offers various free services to help people quit smoking. You can download the free Quit Smoking App on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for online support. If you would prefer to speak to someone on the phone, you can call the National Smoke-free Helpline to talk to a trained expert. The expert that you speak to can offer advice and support and may direct you to local stop smoking support groups.

Telephone 0300 123 1044 (England only)

The NHS website has also released a timeline which explains the benefits of quitting smoking over time.

Benefits of quitting smoking over time

  • After 20 minutes smoke-free – Your pulse rate will decrease
  • After 8 hours smoke-free – The level of carbon monoxide in your blood will be reduced by half
  • After 48 hours smoke-free – All the carbon monoxide that was in your body will have been flushed out. Your sense of taste and smell will be improving.
  • After 72 hours smoke-free – You will be able to breath more easily and your energy levels will be higher
  • After 2 – 12 weeks smoke-free – Your circulation will have significantly improved
  • After 3 – 9 months smoke-free – Your lung function will have increased by as much as 10% and coughs, wheezing and breathing problems will have improved
  • After 1 year smoke-free – Your risk of heart attack will have dropped by 50%
  • After 10 years smoke-free – Your risk of death due to lung cancer will have reduced by 50%

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The NHS recommends various stop smoking aids which can help you to be more successful when trying to quit smoking. Their main suggestions are nicotine replacement therapies (nicotine patches, gum etc.), nicotine vapes, and prescription only medications (where necessary).

Each of these aids aim to help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms that can occur after you stop smoking.

What are the side effects of quitting smoking?

The Centers for Disease Control have listed the 7 most common side effects of quitting smoking are:

  • Nicotine cravings (you can distract yourself from these or use nicotine replacement products rather than cigarettes)
  • Being irritable or upset
  • Feeling restless or jumpy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble with sleeping
  • Increased hunger or weight gain
  • Increased feelings of anxiety or depression

These symptoms should be temporary, but if they aren’t or you are worried about them, you should speak to your doctor or GP.

When did the UK go smoke-free?

In July 2007, the UK banned smoking within almost all enclosed public spaces, such as shops, pubs, restaurants, and workplaces.

The UK government also released a statement in 2023, which stated that they aimed England to be ‘smoke-free’ by 2030. This will be achieved when less than 5% of the adult population are smokers.


What is the new smoking ban in the UK?

In January 2024, the UK government announced their aim for a smoke-free generation. To do this they will be bringing in laws, which mean that anyone born on or after 1st January 2009 will never be able to legally buy tobacco.

This law will come into effect from 1st January 2027 and will work alongside other laws that aim to reduce the number of young people who use vapes.


What does smoking do to you?

Smoking is known to lead to many health complications and can have a significant impact on your overall health and lifestyle. This can happen whether you start smoking cigarettes yourself, or through long term exposure to second hand smoke.

According to the NHS, 7 out of 10 cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. Tobacco smoke can also cause other forms of cancer including stomach, bladder, and bowel cancer. You will also be at increased risk for other medical conditions like heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease.

Smoking is also known to cause reduced fertility in both men and women.

Buying life insurance for smokers is definitely possible, and there are a range of great options available for people who currently smoke or who have smoked in the past.

Life insurance can be more expensive for smokers though, so many people choose to cut back or quit smoking before they apply to reduce the cost. If you smoke and are interested in life insurance, it can be helpful to get some free advice from a specialist in life insurance for smokers.

You can speak to our insurance experts on 0800 009 6559 or CLICK HERE to fill in our online form.

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Can I get life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Yes, you will be able to get life insurance with almost any pre-existing medical condition, as long as it is not terminal. If traditional life insurance is not available due to the severity of your symptoms, then there are other guaranteed and specialist life insurance options, such as:

  • Accidental death
  • Over 50s life insurance
  • Guaranteed life insurance

Some of the most common examples of life insurance with pre-existing conditions are:

  • Overweight or High BMI life insurance
  • Diabetes life insurance (e.g. Type 2 or Type 1 diabetes)
  • Cancer life insurance
  • Heart attack or heart disease life insurance
  • Mental health life insurance
  • Multiple Sclerosis life insurance
  • Autoimmune disorders life insurance
  • HIV life insurance

There are literally thousands of types and variations of pre-exisiting medical conditions and so your situation is likely to be different to someone else. Life insurance with pre-existing conditions will take a number of elements in to account:

  • Severity and type of symptoms
  • Dates of diagnosis, episodes or attacks, and treatments
  • Any ongoing treatment and medications

Your life insurance premiums will be based on your own individual circumstances and how much cover you need. You should be able to adjust the levels of cover to suit your budget and it’s just as important to make sure that you at least have some cover in place.

What does Martin Lewis say about life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

MoneySavingExpert.com suggests that life insurance will ‘cost a lot more’ with a pre-existing medical condition. This is not true and it really does depend on your own individual circumstances so don’t be put off by this as they are not experts in this area.

It is true that some circumstances where the pre-existing medical condition is serious or severe, premiums can be higher to reflect the additional mortality risks. Ultimately, your life insurance premiums are unfortunately based on how likely you are to claim or if you have a higher chance of death within the policy term.

Martin Lewis doesn’t provide any real substance to his comment about pre-existing conditions life insurance and that’s not good enough. You should speak to a medical life insurance specialist to get a fully underwritten quote before you make any final decisions about whether or not you can afford to protect your family.

How much is life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Most traditional life insurance providers will accept applications for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Often, you will have a number of potential options from several different insurance providers so you can usually save money as well by shopping around.

Historically you might have had less offers when you apply for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, but fortunately that is changing. Most of the more well-known high street life insurance brands are now offering more competitive rates and more flexible underwriting.

Top tips to save money on life insurance with pre-existing conditions:

  • Speak to pre-existing medical conditions specialist (these companies will understand the market better and should know which insurers will be cheapest for you)
  • Shop around and get different quotes (same as everything else, by shopping around you’ll get a better idea of what a good price is and what different companies offer)
  • Apply at the best time (timing can be important when applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, usually when symptoms are stable and not before or after treatment)

There are also other things to take into consideration, such as if you’re a smoker or if your weight is higher than normal. Can you do anything to improve your situation that might help to reduce your life insurance premiums.

Best life insurance for pre-existing conditions?

The best life insurance for pre-existing conditions will be different for each individual, based on their circumstances and the details of their health or medical history. There are certainly some insurance providers who are better for people with pre-existing medical conditions than others, such as:

  • The Exeter (better for people with more severe symptoms and serious health problems)
  • Legal & General (can sometimes be good for certain pre-existing medical conditions, especially mild to moderate symptoms)
  • Royal London (offers a number of specialist products and policies for certain pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and mental health)
  • Scottish Widows (sometimes good for moderate medical conditions and offers flexible underwriting for certain conditions)
  • The Guardian (also offers flexible underwriting towards some pre-existing medical conditions)
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