Cost of Smoking in the UK

13th October 2018
cost of smoking in the uk

This is a contributed post which gives an insight into the cost of smoking in the UK. Everybody has their own personal spendings and cigarettes always seem to add quite a sum into the budget, no?

Just how much does smoking cost those across Great Britain who have taken up the habit? Nicotinell, which provides a selection of products to help people on their journey to quitting smoking, has carried out the following research to find out.

Background data for the research into the cost of smoking in the UK

We have based this research on the fact that, according to the Office for National Statistics in its Adult Smoking Habits in the UK: 2016 report, the average daily cigarette consumption for men in Great Britain was 12 cigarettes in 2016. This figure sat at 11 cigarettes a day for women. Over a year, these figures work out at 4,380 cigarettes for men and 4,015 cigarettes for women.

Top 10 sales values in 2016

From this, we have selected the leading cigarettes brands in the UK in 2016 by sales value, as discovered by Statista. These brands are as follows:

  1. Sterling — £1.51 billion
  2. Mayfair — £1.05 billion
  3. Lambert & Butler — £788 million
  4. Marlboro — £782 million
  5. Richmond — £724 million
  6. Players — £718 million
  7. John Player Special — £677 million
  8. Carlton — £541 million
  9. Silk Cut — £504 million
  10. Windsor — £462 million*

*Players were the sixth leading cigarette brand in the UK but have not been included in this research, due to the data for this brand being unavailable on

How much are Brits paying for their ciggies?

So next, we picked out the most popular 20-pack box of cigarettes from each cigarette brand and then worked out the mean value of the price charged at the UK’s four biggest supermarket chains. The supermarkets selected were those with the highest market share according to Kantar Worldpanel, which are as follows:

  1. Tesco — 27.8%
  2. Sainsbury’s — 15.8%
  3. Asda — 15.3%
  4. Morrisons — 10.4%

The most popular 20-pack box of cigarettes of each cigarette brand and their mean value, as priced and charted in terms of popularity by as of November 1st 2017, are as follows:

  • Sterling Dual King Size — £8.24
  • Mayfair White King Size — £8.89
  • Lambert & Butler Original Silver King Size — £8.89
  • Marlboro Gold King Size — £10.36
  • Richmond Bright Blue Superkings — £8.89
  • John Player Special Bright Blue Superkings — £7.35
  • Carlton Superkings Red — £7.35
  • Silk Cut King Size Silver — £10.66
  • Windsor Blue JPS Superking Green — £7.89

Now we can calculate how much the average male and female smoker in Great Britain can expect to spend per year on cigarettes.

How much is the average Great British smoker spending on cigarettes per year?

Cigarette productAvg. expenditure by men per year**Avg. expenditure by women per year**
Sterling Dual King Size£1,804.56£1,656.24
Mayfair White King Size£1,946.91£1,786.89
Lambert & Butler Original Silver King Size£1,946.91£1,786.89
Marlboro Gold King Size£2,268.84£2,082.36
Richmond Bright Blue Superkings£1,946.91£1,786.89
John Player Special Bright Blue Superkings£1,609.65£1,477.35
Carlton Superkings Red£1,609.65£1,477.35
Silk Cut King Size Silver£2,334.54£2,142.66
Windsor Blue JPS Superking Green£1,727.91£1,585.89
Avg. expenditure across all products researched£1,910.65£1,753.61

**The average expenditure has been worked out per the cost of a 20-pack of each cigarette product. For example, if a smoker has 42 cigarettes per year, they would need to purchase 3 x 20 packs of cigarettes.

Putting the average expenditure into context

If the two figures for the average cost of smoking in the UK doesn’t sound high enough by themselves, then consider how much these popular purchases cost in comparison:

  • A 49-inch Sony Bravia KD49XE9005 LED HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart Android TV can be purchased new from John Lewis for £1,199.
  • A PS4 Pro 1TB, an Xbox One X and a Nintendo Switch can be purchased new from GAME for a total of £1,069.97 for all three consoles.
  • A summer holiday for a family of four costs an average of £1,212, according to research from Asda Money, with this figure including flights, accommodation, food, clothes, phone data, and activities.
  • The average Brit spends £1,042 a year on clothes, according to the Great British Wardrobe Report commissioned by Ariel.
  • The average British household spends £753 on Christmas festivities, according to research carried out by com Money, with this figure including the costs to buy presents for friends and family, food and drink for the big day, partying and all of the festive decorations — including the Christmas tree.

About the Contributor

Lee Dover is a copywriter at Mediaworks on behalf of Nicotinell.

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